Israel strikes Gaza after incendiary balloon launches


Israel conducted overnight airstrikes against Hamas targets in Gaza in retaliation for the launching of incendiary balloons from the Palestinian enclave that caused fires in southern Israel, the country’s military said early Saturday.

“In response to continual launches of incendiary balloons from Gaza into Israel throughout the day, a short while ago IDF fighter jets struck a Hamas military compound and a rocket launching site,” the Israeli army said in a statement.

“The rocket launching site was located in close proximity to civilian surroundings, once again emphasising how Hamas continues to endanger Palestinian civilians.”

There were no immediate reports of casualties.

Incendiary balloons caused four fires on Friday in the Eshkol region near Gaza, Israeli firefighters said.

The last time such an attack took place, on July 25, the Israeli army retaliated with airstrikes on targets of the Islamist movement Hamas, which rules the Palestinian enclave.

There have been sporadic incidents, including a series of incendiary balloon launches, since a May 21 ceasefire ended 11 days of deadly fighting between Israel and Hamas.

That conflict killed 260 Palestinians including some fighters, according to Gaza authorities.

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

Friday’s balloon launches come after the Israeli army carried out retaliatory shelling in Lebanon in response to a volley of rockets fired by Hezbollah, a Hamas ally.


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