Israel bombs Hamas sites in Gaza over fire balloons: Military
Palestinians say the balloons aim to pressure Israel to ease its blockade on the besieged territory.
According to Israel’s military, Israeli warplanes bombed Hamas sites in Gaza in response to incendiary balloons launched from the Palestinian enclave that caused brush fires in southern Israel.
There were no early reports of casualties from the air attacks, which targeted a weapons production facility and a rocket launch site belonging to Hamas, Gaza’s current government, the IDF said early Tuesday.
Israeli army fighter jets attacked “a Hamas weapons manufacturing site in Khan Younis as well as a terror tunnel entry in Jabalya,” according to a statement.
“A Hamas underground rocket launch site that is located adjacent to civilian homes and a school in Shujaiya, was also struck,” it added, saying “the strikes were in response to Hamas launching incendiary balloons into Israeli territory”.
Since an Egyptian-mediated ceasefire ended 11 days of violence between Israel and Hamas in May, Gazan groups have fired incendiary balloons into Israel on a sporadic basis, drawing Israeli raids on Hamas facilities.
According to Palestinians, the balloons are planned to bring pressure on Israel to ease restrictions on Gaza and allow aid to enter the territory.
According to Israel’s Fire and Rescue Service, balloons launched Monday set fire to Israeli fields along the Gaza border.
Cross-border violence has spiked despite an Israeli announcement last week of a resumption of Qatari aid to Gaza, a move that had been seen as bolstering the fragile truce.
Israeli troops started firing on Gaza protesters near the border on Saturday, wounding 41 Palestinians, two of whom were critically injured, medics reported.
Palestinian gunfire seriously wounded an Israeli soldier, the military said.
Days before Saturday’s violence, Gaza fighters launched a rocket towards Israel that was shot down by its Iron Dome anti-missile system in the first such rocket attack since the May 21 ceasefire.