Following security consultations, Defense Minister Benny Gantz approved the recommendation of Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi. the IDF, and security officials, and today approved the reduction of the Gaza fishing zone from 15 nautical miles to eight. The order will take effect immediately and last until further notice.
The order was issued in response to the continued launching of incendiary balloons at southern Israel from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.
The IDF said that "the decision was made in light of repeated terrorist acts from Gaza against Israeli citizens in recent days, which constitute a violation of Israeli sovereignty. Hamas bears responsibility for everything that is done in and out of the Gaza Strip towards Israel, and it will bear the consequences of the violence perpetrated against the citizens of Israel."
24 fires broke out during the day Wednesday as a result of incendiary balloons launched by terrorists. One of the balloons landed in the yard of a house in the Sha'ar Hanegev council but did not cause any injuries or damage.
Earlier, the tax authority revealed that last week it thwarted an attempt to smuggle tens of thousands of helium balloons into Gaza. The balloons were discovered during an inspection by customs officials in Ashdod in order to thwart the smuggling of weapons.
The balloons were being moved in two containers of old clothing items imported by Gazan importers. The containers were seized and the matter was transferred to the security forces for further investigation.
Ashkelon Coast Regional Council chairman Itamar Revivo criticized the defense establishment's response to this week's attacks.
"The Gaza envelope is under attack. In recent days, tens of thousands of residents of the envelope have faced an unprecedented attack by explosive and incendiary balloons. The Gaza terror virus is still here. This is not a first wave or second one, but years upon years of continuous terrorism. The Israeli government knows how to mobilize the best minds in the fight against a mysterious virus, and it is time to mobilize the best minds to find an effective solution for terrorism in general and balloon terrorism in particular," Revivo said.