Israel launches overnight airstrikes on Gaza in response to incendiary balloons release from Hamas

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Not much long after officially calling ceasefire bringing an end to 11 day of Israel – Palestinian conflict, airstrikes were again launched in the region. The first truce over Wednesday midnight happened as Israel launched airstrikes on the Hamas occupied Gaza. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said that it was in response to incendiary balloons that were released over Israel by Hamas earlier in the day.

The violence posed a major first test for Israel’s new government that was sworn in three days earlier. Tuesday was another test as Jerusalem braced for violence amid march by Jewish nationalists in East Jerusalem.

Israel’s military said that aircrafts attacked Hamas compounds on Wednesday early hours in Gaza City and southern town of Khan Younis. IDF said that it was “ready for all scenarios, including renewed fighting in the face of continued terrorist acts emanating from Gaza”. Military further said that strikes are a response to balloons that were launched by Hamas over Israel causing 20 fires in communities near the Gaza border.

Hamas spokesperson confirmed attack on Israel and said that Palestinians would continue to follow their “brave resistance and defend their rights and sacred sites” in Jerusalem. Helium filled balloons were fixed to incendiary devices and floated into Israel on Wednesday. IDF calls the act by Hamas a sign of protest to provocative flag march in Jerusalem as thousands of Israelis marched through the Old City.

During parade far-right Jewish extremists chanted “Death to Arabs” and “This is our home”. Israeli police blocked off the streets and removed Palestinian protesters forcibly from the march route. Yair Lapid, Israel’s foreign minister meanwhile condemned the chanting Israelis and called them “disgrace to the people of Israel”.

After the Israeli airstrikes, Hamas spokesperson Hazem Kassem tweeted, “The Zionist bombing of the Gaza Strip is a failed attempt to stop our people’s solidarity and resistance with the Holy City, and to cover up the unprecedented state of confusion for the Zionist establishment in organizing the so-called ‘flag-march’.”

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