Israel claims to have launched new air strikes against Hamas in Gaza

Israel says it attacked Hamas compounds in retaliation for incendiary balloons

Explosions light up the night sky above buildings in Gaza City early on Wednesday. Photograph: Mahmud Hams/AFP via Getty Images

Explosions light up the night sky above buildings in Gaza City early on Wednesday. Photograph: Mahmud Hams/AFP via Getty Images

 

The Israeli military claims its aircraft attacked Hamas armed compounds in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday in response to the launching of incendiary balloons from the territory that caused fires in fields in southern Israel.

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

The alleged attacks, following an Israeli nationalist march in East Jerusalem that angered Palestinians, were the first launched by Israel and Gaza militants since an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire ended 11 days of cross-border fighting last month.

A Hamas radio station had earlier claimed an Israeli aircraft attacked a Palestinian training camp in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday.

Israel’s new prime minister, Naftali Bennett, who assumed office on Sunday to mark the end of Benjamin Netanyahu’s 12-year reign, said in the past that the Israeli government should not tolerate incendiary balloons, and must retaliate as if Hamas had fired rockets into Israel.

The Israeli fire brigade said the incendiary balloons caused some 20 blazes in open fields in communities near the frontier. – Reuters