Israeli Aircraft Fires at Gazans Launching Incendiary Balloons

An Israel Air Force aircraft fired on Sunday at Palestinians launching incendiary balloons from the northern Gaza Strip toward Israel, the Israeli military said in a statement.

Two Palestinians were lightly-to-moderately wounded by the strike near Jabalia, Gaza’s Health Ministry said.

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said earlier Sunday that Israel will reopen Kerem Shalom – Gaza’s only commercial crossing – in the coming days, if the Gaza border remains quiet.

Israel last week decided to allow no fuel to pass through the crossing, further tightening the blockade it imposed last week in response to the daily barrage of kites and balloons carrying firebombs. Though the Kerem Shalom crossing was closed to most merchandise the previous week, fuel, food and medicine were exempted from that decision. 

"Gaza’s residents need to understand that as long there are incendiary balloons and fires as on our side, life on their side will not return to a normal routine." According to Lieberman, if the border remains quiet in the coming days Kerem Shalom will be reopened on Tuesday and fishing areas will be restored.

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Israel and Hamas agreed to restore calm in the Gaza Strip after an escalation over the weekend that included rockets fired at Israel from Gaza and dozens of Israeli strikes on the Strip. The escalation began after a Gaza sniper shot and killed an Israeli soldier on the Gaza border. Hundreds of people attended the funeral of Staff Sgt. Aviv Levi on Sunday.