Israel carries out fresh Hamas strikes over incendiary balloons

GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories (AFP) – Israeli jets struck a Hamas military target in the Gaza Strip in retaliation for balloon-borne explosive devices late Tuesday, the army said, the fourth such strike in recent days.

A Palestinian security source confirmed the strikes, with no injuries reported.

The army said in a statement late Tuesday that “fighter jets and aircraft struck a number of terror targets in a Hamas military compound in the northern Gaza Strip.

“The strike was conducted in response to explosive balloons that were launched from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory.”

A Palestinian security source in Gaza said a number of Hamas sites, including an observation post, were hit near Gaza City, causing damage but no injuries.

Palestinians have released incendiary devices tied to balloons during protests along the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel. – AFP

Eyewitnesses also described an explosion at a Hamas site in southern Gaza, though the Israeli army statement did not mention such targets.

The Israeli strike was the fourth since last Saturday, each in response to either balloons or explosive devices hurled at the border fence.

Militant group Hamas have controlled Gaza since 2007 and have fought three wars with Israel since.

The so-called incendiary balloons involve flaming devices floated across the border with the aim of starting fires in the Israeli communities and farmlands on the other side.

Clusters of balloons have been flown during regular protests and clashes along the frontier.

They largely stopped after an informal Egyptian-brokered truce agreement between Hamas and Israel last November.

Under that deal, Israel agreed to ease its crippling blockade of Gaza in exchange for calm.

Hamas has accused Israel of breaching the terms of the agreement.

An Egyptian security delegation met with Hamas leader Ismail Haniya in Gaza on Tuesday.