Israel launches air strikes on Gaza in response to fire balloons
There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage from the strike that targeted what the military alleged was a rocket-launching site and a compound belonging to Hamas, the Islamist group that rules Gaza. Hamas had no immediate comment.
On 21 May, a ceasefire ended Israel's deadly 11-day bombing campaign against the besieged enclave, which saw 256 Palestinians killed, while rocket fire from Hamas and other Gaza militants killed 13 in Israel.
Since then, 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 the crushing restrictions against the coastal enclave that were tightened alongside Israel's aggression against Gaza in May.
Balloon launches had mostly ebbed after Israel reduced some restrictions on Gaza, though the damage of Tel Aviv's domination of the Strip was likely already done.
On Friday, balloons were again launched from Gaza, causing at least four brush fires in areas near the Israel-Gaza frontier.
In-depth: Palestinians in Gaza are experiencing a crippling economic crisis following Israel's war in May, with Eid al-Adha celebrations marred by empty shops, poor sales, and unaffordable prices - Khuloud Rabah Sulaiman writes https://t.co/ZwFTbuMhiY— The New Arab (@The_NewArab) July 24, 2021
The Israeli military asserted that its airstrikes 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.