The Israeli Air Force continues to fight back against three cells that have launched incendiary balloons and kites across the Gaza Strip over the weekend.
A successful counter attack yielded the destruction of one of the vehicles responsible for sending the flaming debris over the border, according to Israel Defense Forces (IDF), the Jerusalem Post reported.
“In recent days, the IDF warned and carried out several attacks near the cells responsible for the arson and destruction of lands in Israel. These are terror attacks that endanger the residents of southern Israel,” the army said.
“The IDF is determined to continue acting with increasing force against these terror activities, for as long as it takes and with a variety of tools. The Hamas terror organization is responsible for everything that happens in and from the Gaza Strip, and it will suffer the consequences,” the IDF said.
Palestinian media released photos of the vehicle destroyed by IAF, which was empty at the time.
— المركز الفلسطيني للإعلام (@PalinfoAr) June 17, 2018
Since March 30, massive protests have erupted along the border with Israel in what organizers have called “Great March of Return.”
The demonstrations have grown increasingly violent, with participants hurling stones, Molotov cocktails and other debris at Israeli troops.
On Saturday, more than 3o fires broke out in Israel, with 17 more igniting on Sunday.
Last week, Israeli media had reported that Palestine planned to expand the range of its incendiary kites and launch 5,000 more toward Israel to mark the festival of Eid al-Fitr.
However, Friday saw the fewest amount of protestors along the Israel-Gaza fence since the protests began.
The group responsible for the fires is dubbed “The Sons of Zouari,” and od to Hamas’ chief drone expert and engineer Muhammad Zouari.
Zouari was assassinated in Tunisia in 2016 as a result of an operation blamed on Israel’s foreign intelligence agency.
As a means of managing the violent protests, the IDF up to this point has regularly fired warning shots to prevent incendiary devices from entering Israeli airspace.
Amid increasing political pressure, military officials now say that the army will continue with a direct-strike approach, which was put in place this weekend.
The Israeli army confirmed that it carried out three other drone strikes near residents of the Gaza Strip who were involved in launching flaming balloons and kites.
According to the Health Ministry in Gaza, one strike resulted in two Palestinians being wounded.