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Israel strikes Hamas site in Gaza in response to fire balloons

israeli soldiers stand next to an artillery unit on the israeli side of the border with lebanon
File photo: Israeli soldiers stand next to an artillery unit on the Israeli side of the border with Lebanon

Israeli aircraft bombed a Hamas site in the Gaza Strip on Saturday in response to incendiary balloons launched from the Palestinian enclave, Israel’s military said.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage from the strike that targeted what the military said was a rocket launching site belonging to Hamas, the Islamist group that rules Gaza. Hamas had no immediate comment.

Since a May 21 ceasefire ended 11 days of Israel-Hamas fighting, Palestinians in Gaza have sporadically launched balloons laden with incendiary material across the border, causing fires that have burned fields in Israel.

Palestinians say the balloons aim to pressure Israel to ease restrictions on the coastal enclave that were tightened during the May fighting.

Balloon launches had mostly ebbed after Israel eased some restrictions on Gaza.

But on Friday, balloons were again launched from Gaza, causing at least four brush fires in areas near the Israel-Gaza frontier.

The Israeli military said its air strikes were in “response to continual launches of incendiary balloons from Gaza into Israel throughout the day.”

The blazes along the Gaza frontier broke out on Friday as Israel separately traded fire over its northern border with Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah, in a third day of cross-border salvoes amid wider regional tensions with Iran.

 

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