Israel – The Israeli military on Wednesday, said that it had conducted airstrikes in the Gaza Strip following statements from officials that the militant group Hamas had sent incendiary balloons into southern Israel from Gaza, in the first eruption of hostilities since an 11-day attacks between Israel and Hamas which ended last month.
Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said that Israeli jets struck military compounds allegedly belonging to Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza. They said that Hamas is responsible for all events transpiring in the Gaza Strip, and will bear the consequences for its actions. They also added that Israel was prepared for any scenario, including a resumption of hostilities.
Israeli authorities reported that the incendiary balloons had sparked 20 fires near the Gaza border, according to Reuters. However, there were no immediate reports of casualties from the airstrike.
There has been no orders for retaliation from the Palestine side for the Israeli air articles according to Al Jazeera.
Israel and Hamas have had a cease-fire since May 21, an agreement that followed 11 days of violence that left more than 240 citizens of Gaza including 65 children, as well as 13 residents of Israel dead. While the worst communal violence in Israel has subsided since the Egypt-brokered accord took place, tensions continue to remain high.
Tuesday’s launch of balloons came as at least hundreds of ultranationalist demonstrators bearing Israeli flags marched into Jerusalem’s Old City, with chants, “Death to Arabs!” and “May your village burn,” as reported by the Associated Press.
In a scathing condemnation on Twitter, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said those shouting racist slogans were a disgrace to the Israeli people while adding that the fact that there are radicals for whom the Israeli flag represents hatred and racism is abominable and unforgivable.
However, Police had moved the procession to avoid the Muslim quarter of the city. Hamas called on Palestinians to resist the parade, which celebrates Israel’s capture of East Jerusalem in 1967, the Associated Press reported. Another march earlier this year, which was followed by Hamas rocket attacks, was used by Israel as a reason to initiate attacks on Palestine leading to escalating attacks for 11 days.
The escalation also posed a significant challenge to the new government that took office three days ago, succeeding former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was in power for 12 years. Naftali Bennett took office as the new Prime Minister of Israel as approved by the Israeli Parliament.
Before he took charge, Bennett made comments equating incendiary balloons to rocket strikes, according to the Jerusalem Post. He has expressed support for increased Jewish control over the al-Aqsa mosque compound, known by Jews as Temple Mount, in Jerusalem’s contested Old City as well.
Last month, May 2021, Israeli air raids killed at least 256 Palestinians including 66 children while Palestinian rockets killed 12 Isrealis including 2 children.
The new attacks come 11 days after ceasefire between the two states.