Two Palestinians wounded in Israeli drone strike on Gaza

Two Palestinians wounded in Israeli drone strike on Gaza
Israel's military said the strikes which targeted a militant base were in response to 'arson balloons' launched from Gaza.
2 min read
05 August, 2018
An Israeli drone drops tear gas canisters on Gazans [File photo: Getty]

An Israeli drone attacked a Palestinian militant base in the northern Gaza Strip on Sunday, moderately injuring two people, security officials in the Hamas-ruled territory said.

They said the facility, north of Beit Lahiya, was used by a small group known as al-Mujahedeen, which despite meaning "holy warriors" in Arabic is not a Salafi movement.

The Israeli military said one of its aircraft fired at two targets in the strip's northern area, describing one of them as "a vehicle that served a terrorist squad for launching arson balloons".

It also attacked "a terrorist squad that was launching arson balloons from the northern Gaza Strip into Israel", the army said in an English-language statement.

Palestinians in Gaza have been flying balloons and kites carrying incendiary devices across the border into Israel.

They see their use as legitimate resistance against Israel's more than 10-year blockade.

It is the latest phase of border demonstrations that began at the end of March, in which at least 159 Palestinians have been killed while one Israeli soldier has been shot dead.

According to unconfirmed local media reports, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was to meet members of his security cabinet later Sunday to discuss a possible truce with Hamas.

Hamas leaders have been meeting in Gaza over the weekend but no details of their talks have emerged.

According to a senior Hamas source, they were expected to deal with UN and Egyptian ceasefire proposals and the lifting of Israel's decade-long blockade of the Palestinian enclave.

Israel last week halted vital fuel and gas shipments to Gaza citing the launching of in kites carrying firebombs over the border.

The coastal enclave suffers from a severe lack of electricity and relies on fuel-powered generators during outages that last hours at a time.

Israel insists its blockade is necessary to isolate Hamas, with which it has fought three wars since 2008.

Critics say it amounts to collective punishment of the coastal enclave's two million residents. The UN says Gaza will be "unliveable" by 2020.