For the second time this week, the Israeli military struck what it said were Hamas sites in the Gaza Strip in retaliation for “incendiary balloons” sent into Israeli territory.
The violence earlier this week was the first since a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas ended 11 days of fighting that left more than 240 Palestinians and 12 Israelis dead last month.
The Israel Defense Forces, or IDF, said on Thursday that fighter jets had struck “military complexes and a rocket launch site belonging to the terrorist organization Hamas in Gaza City and Khan Yunis.”
The military said the airstrikes were in retaliation for incendiary balloons sent from the Gaza Strip to Israel.
The IDF also said on Wednesday it carried out airstrikes against Hamas compounds in Gaza over balloons. Israeli firefighters said the balloons caused 20 fires.
Hamas is a militant group that rules the Gaza Strip and is considered a terrorist organization by Israel and the United States. The Israeli military has said it holds Hamas “responsible for all events that occur in the Gaza Strip.”
Also Thursday, sirens sounded in southern Israel. The IDF said they were not triggered by rockets but by other incoming fire.
The Associated Press reported that surveillance footage obtained showed what appeared to be heavy machine gun fire in the air from Gaza, which could have been attempts to shoot down planes. He reported that another video showed projectiles fired from Gaza, but it was not known what type.
In May, thousands of rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel, sending people running to bomb shelters, and Israel carried out devastating airstrikes that razed buildings and caused widespread devastation in the Strip. already impoverished Gaza.
The fighting began after Israeli police raided the grounds of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem during Ramadan, the Muslim holy month. Hamas fired rockets at Israel, and Israel responded with a campaign of airstrikes.