IDF retaliates following explosive balloon attack on Wednesday; Hamas targets hit in southern Gaza; PA returns tax revenues.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) carried out airstrikes in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday night in retaliation for an incendiary balloon attack earlier in the evening.

Riots broke out near Beit Hanoun early Wednesday, Hamas militants sending explosives on balloons over the border causing damage to a home in the Eshkol region in southern Israel. Palestinians in Gaza have resorted to sending arson and explosive kites and balloons, causing wildfires and devastation on Israel’s southern region.

The Israel Air Force retaliated on Wednesday night, using helicopters and jets to attack multiple Hamas targets in the southern Gaza Strip. One of the targets hit was Hamas’s military Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades site. The IDF confirmed, “Our fighter jets and helicopters struck a number of Hamas targets in Gaza in response to the explosive balloons that were launched from Gaza earlier tonight and damaged an Israeli home.”

The IDF Spokespersons Unit warned following the mission, “The IDF views any attempt to hurt Israeli civilians severely and will continue to operate against these attacks.”

Also on Wednesday, Palestinian Authority (PA) cabinet leader Rami Hamdallah confirmed the PA’s return of tax revenues from Israel after deductions were made for payments to the Palestinian martyr fund. Earlier this month, the Palestinian Authority announced it would not accept tax revenues collected by Israel after it deducted funds paid by the PA for its ongoing “terror salaries”, approximately $138 million. Under new Israeli legislature, Israel will now deduct the amount paid to Palestinian “martyrs” and their families, alongside water, energy and medical services costs. 

The PA pays the families of terrorists for attacks on Israeli citizens. Referred to as the “Palestinian Authority Martyrs Fund”, monthly stipends, anywhere from $800 to $3,000, are given to the families of terrorists. The fund includes resources for incarcerated Palestinian terrorists and their families, as well as funds for the families of terrorists who were killed by Israeli security forces.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas vowed to continue to pay terrorists and their families, announcing, “Israel claims that the Palestinian Authority transfers funds to terrorists and therefore wants to offset these funds… Frankly, we do not want to receive these funds and every penny we have we will transfer to the families of the martyrs.”

Photo: Peter R. Foster IDMA/