Israel strikes Gaza after incendiary balloon launch


Palestinian artist Saja Mousa, 26, holds her son at the remains of her house that was damaged in an Israeli airstrike during May's Israeli-Hamas fighting, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. Picture taken June 23, 2021. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

GAZA CITY (AFP): Israel hit Islamist armed group sites in Gaza with airstrikes on Friday (July 2) in retaliation for incendiary balloon launches from the Palestinian enclave, in the latest unrest since a ceasefire ended May's conflict.

Security sources with Hamas, the Islamist group that runs Israeli-blockaded Gaza, said the strikes hit training sites. There were no injuries reported.

A statement from Israel's army said: "In response to the arson balloons fired towards Israeli territory today, (military) fighter jets struck... a weapons manufacturing site belonging to Hamas."

On Thursday (July 1), Israel's fire service said that incendiary balloon launches from Gaza had sparked four minor fires in the southern Eshkol region, on the Gaza border.

The blazes were "small and not dangerous" and were quickly brought under control, a statement from the fire service said.

"A fire investigator... determined that all the fires were caused by incendiary balloons (from Gaza)", the statement said.

Eleven days of deadly fighting between Israel and Gaza's Hamas, as well as other Palestinian armed groups based in the enclave, ended on May 21 with a ceasefire declaration.

There was no immediate indication as to which Gaza-based group was responsible for the balloon launch.

There have been multiple flare-ups since the ceasefire, including a series of balloon launches last month. Israel has responded with airstrikes.

Following an exchange of fire on June 18, Israeli army chief ordered forces to be ready "for a variety of scenarios including a resumption of hostilities".

The conflict killed 260 Palestinians including several fighters, according to Gaza authorities.

In Israel, 13 people were killed, including a soldier, by rockets fired from Gaza, the police and army said.

Israel has maintained a crippling blockade on Gaza since 2007, the year Hamas took power, which the Jewish state says is necessary to contain armed groups in the enclave.

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 46
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Join our Telegram channel to get our Evening Alerts and breaking news highlights
   

Next In World

Thai monks bring grocery store to the poor as pandemic hits incomes
Magnitude 6.0 earthquake strikes near Melbourne, tremors rattle southeast Australia
Philippines' Duterte vows accountability for anyone who went 'beyond bounds' in drug war
Brazil and Argentina tapped to make mRNA vaccines in Latin America
Venezuela says Colombian drone violates its airspace as U.S. admiral visits
Women's rights activist to leaders at UN: Don't let Taliban fool you
Mexico files U.S. lawsuit against ex-security chief linked to Sinaloa Cartel
After long trek to U.S., Haitian woman fears husband deported
Clock starts ticking for Canada's Trudeau after bid for majority fails
Indigenous protestors seek Norwegian 'asylum' for Brazilian tree

Stories You'll Enjoy


Vouchers