Israel Strikes in Gaza after Militants Fire Arson Balloons

Palestinian Hamas militants take part in an anti-Israel rally in Gaza City, May 24, 2021. (Mohammed Salem/Reuters)

Israel’s military said it launched airstrikes at the Gaza Strip on Tuesday night after militants in the Palestinian territory fired incendiary balloons into southern Israel.

The counterattack targeting Hamas armed military compounds occurred early Wednesday morning local time and marked the first major flare-up between Israel and Gaza since May 21, when a ceasefire agreement ended eleven days of hostilities. The Israel Defense Forces said the targets were used by Hamas’s Khan Yunis and Gaza Brigades for “terror activities.”

The Israeli military said in a statement that it was “ready for all scenarios, including renewed fighting in the face of continued terrorist acts emanating from Gaza.”

The airstrike came after militants launched arson balloons from Gaza, sparking nearly two dozen fires, according to Fox News.

“The Hamas terror organization is responsible for all events transpiring in the Gaza Strip, and will bear the consequences for its actions,” the military said in a statement. “The IDF is prepared for any scenario, including a resumption of hostilities, in the face of continuing terror activities from the Gaza Strip.”

Authorities on both sides said there were no injuries, according to the Times of Israel.

The renewed tension came after a march in East Jerusalem that celebrated the 1967 capture of the city drew hundreds of Israeli ultra-nationalists, some of whom chanted “Death to Arabs.” The march was considered to be a provocation by Hamas, which urged Palestinians to “resist” the parade.

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