Israel launches airstrikes on Gaza

Israel launches airstrikes in Gaza after incendiary balloon attacks. [Photo: AFP]

Israel launched airstrikes against Gaza on Monday night, the army said, retaliating after incendiary balloons launched from the blockaded Palestinian enclave had started fires.

Blaming Hamas for the balloons, the Israeli army said it had targeted locations belonging to the group that controls the Gaza Strip.

“Overnight, IDF fighter jets struck a Hamas rocket manufacturing workshop, as well as a Hamas military compound in Khan Yunis,” the Israeli army said in a statement.

“The strikes were in response to Hamas launching incendiary balloons into Israeli territory,” the statement added.

Witnesses said that the army had also fired artillery at the north of Gaza.

According to medical sources in the Palestinian enclave, no one was killed.

Earlier in the day, Israeli firefighters had said that incendiary balloons had caused three bushfires at sites close to the Gaza Strip.

Launching the makeshift devices is a common tactic of Hamas members in Gaza, which Israel has blockaded for nearly 15 years.

Israel frequently responds with airstrikes.

Monday’s strikes come after six Palestinians broke out of an Israeli prison earlier in the day through a tunnel, triggering a massive manhunt.

Hamas and Israel fought a devastating 11-day conflict in May, the worst between the two sides in years.

Though it ended with an Egypt-brokered ceasefire and a pledge for Qatari aid to ease poverty in the Palestinian enclave, incendiary balloons and occasional border clashes have continued in the months since.

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