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Incendiary Gaza balloons cause brush fires in Israel

Incendiary balloons launched from the Gaza Strip on Sunday caused fires in southern Israel, firefighters said, the first such attack in over three weeks.

Firefighters extinguished brush blazes "in three points in a small area in the Eshkol region," a statement said, noting that investigations had "determined the cause as being incendiary balloons."

The balloons are basic devices intended to set fire to farmland surrounding the Israeli-blockaded Palestinian enclave.

Israel has recently responded to such attacks with overnight air strikes, targeting facilities belonging to Gaza's Hamas Islamist rulers.

The last time balloons from Gaza caused a fire in Israel was July 2.

On July 12, Israel announced it was expanding the fishing zone off Gaza and allowing additional imports into the Palestinian territory in the light of the "recent security calm".

An 11-day conflict in May saw Israel launch hundreds of air strikes on Gaza, and Hamas fire thousands of rockets at Israel.

There has been sporadic unrest since a ceasefire ended the conflict, with incendiary balloons launched from Gaza and Israeli reprisal air strikes. No casualties have been reported.

Topics: Gaza Strip , Israel , Incendiary balloons , Hamas
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