Israel launches airstrikes on Gaza, first time since ceasefire last month

The Israeli military said 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. This is for the first since the end of 11 days of cross-border fighting last month.

The flare-up, a first test for Israel’s new government, comes after a march was conducted in East Jerusalem on Tuesday by Israeli nationalists that had drawn threats of action by Hamas, the ruling terrorist group in Gaza. 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 missile attacks on targets in the Gaza City area and in the city of Khan Yunis in the southwestern part of the Palestinian enclave, Sputnik reported. According to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry, 253 Palestinians were killed during the fighting, including 66 children, while 13 Israelis, including a 5-year-old boy and a soldier, were killed in the 11 days of heavy fighting and around 1,000 apartments, offices and shops were destroyed in the latest round of fighting in May in Gaza, an impoverished enclave of two million controlled by the Hamas Islamist group.