The Israeli air force launched air raids on the Gaza Strip early on Wednesday after Palestinians in the besieged enclave sent incendiary balloons into southern Israel, Israel’s military and witnesses in Gaza said.
Al-Jazeera cited a statement by the Israeli army which said that it attacked Hamas compounds and that it was “ready for all scenarios, including renewed fighting in the face of continued terrorist acts emanating from Gaza”.
My family whatsApp group is suddenly filled with questions about loud sounds heard in parts of Gaza. And it is now confirmed. Israeli forces are bombing Gaza. It took the new Israeli PM 48 hours to take a decision to do this. Our families have not healed yet.— Malaka (@MalakaShwaikh) June 15, 2021
The statement added that the raids were a response to the launching of the balloons, which the Israeli fire brigade reported caused 20 fires in open fields in communities near the Gaza border.
AFP news agency cited Palestinian sources which said that the raids targeted at least one site east of the southern city of Khan Younes.
A Hamas spokesman, confirming the Israeli attacks, told the Reuters that Palestinians would continue to pursue their “brave resistance and defend their rights and sacred sites” in Jerusalem.
Gaza tonight pic.twitter.com/2iwp09R1js— Muhammad Smiry (@MuhammadSmiry) June 15, 2021
The air raids mark the first major flare-up between Israel and Gaza since a truce on May 21 which ended Israel’s 11-day assault on the territory, which killed 256 Palestinians, including 66 children, according to Gaza authorities. 12 Isrealis were also killed by the rockets fired from Gaza.