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Israeli jet fires on Gaza terror squads

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A Palestinian prepares a balloon that will be attached to flammable materials and then flown toward Israel near the Israeli-Gaza border, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip June 17, 2018. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90 photo)

An Israel Air Force jet fired on what it called a terrorist squad launching arson balloons from Gaza into Israel, as well as on a vehicle used by a second balloon-launching squad.

The Health Ministry in Gaza told Israeli media that four were injured in the attack on Sunday afternoon.

The strikes came after a weekend in which over 40 fires were ignited in southern Israel by balloons carrying incendiary material sent from Gaza.

One of the arson balloons was discovered on the roof of a home in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba, the second such balloon discovered in the city located some 25 miles from the Gaza border in the last week.

Thousands of acres of woodlands and agricultural fields have been destroyed by incendiary material flown over the border from Gaza over the last three months.

The attacks, the highest number in the last month, come as Hamas in Gaza reportedly is considering a long-term ceasefire deal with Israel. Israel’s Cabinet was scheduled to meet Sunday to discuss the possible Egyptian-backed deal which would see Israel partially open its blockade of the coastal strip in exchange for a halt to border violence. The families of two Israeli soldiers, whose bodies are being held by Hamas in Gaza, object to such a deal unless their loved ones remains are returned.