Israel attacks group launching ‘arson balloons’ from Gaza

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Jerusalem, July 24 (IANS) Israel has carried out an airstrike against a group of Gazans launching “arson balloons” to burn the Israeli farmlands, the military said.

“A terrorist squad was launching arson balloons from the northern Gaza Strip into Israeli territory,” a military spokesperson said in a statement on Monday, Xinhua news agency reported.

In response, “an IDF (Israel Defense Forces) aircraft fired towards the squad,” the statement read.

The recent round of violence has cost the lives of at least 135 Palestinians and an Israeli soldier.

Israel has escalated its response to the sending of helium-filled balloons and kites with combustion materials attached to them. The burning balloons and kites have consumed at least 34,000 dunams in southern Israel.

The recent violence was part of a recent escalation in the region, which started on March 30 with rallies to protest the crippling blockade that Israel has been imposing on Gaza since 2007.

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Israel reacted to the protest with fire, killing at least 135 Palestinians since the protest started.

–IANS

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