The Israeli army returned to attack the Gaza Strip on Thursday (17) after the launch of incendiary balloons, in a further escalation of tensions in the region. The targets of the aerial bombardments, carried out for the second time this week, were the sites of the Islamic group Hamas.
On its Twitter, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) reported that the actions targeted military complexes and a rocket launch site belonging to the Palestinian group. “The IDF has increased its preparedness for various scenarios and will continue to attack Hamas terrorist targets in Gaza. The Islamic organization is considered a terrorist by Israel, the United States and the European Union.
According to The Times of Israel, at least eight fires were started in the south of the country on Thursday and four on Wednesday (16) by incendiary balloons launched from Gaza, firefighters said.
Palestinian media, according to the vehicle, said an Israeli attack targeted a Hamas-controlled building in the town of Beit Lahiya. Actions were reported against another building in northern Gaza and a base near Khan Younis belonging to the Islamic group, as well as a site near Gaza City and camps believed to house underground rocket launchers in the area. southern region.
There have been no reports of injured Palestinians.
About 20 minutes after the attacks were announced, Israeli forces posted on Twitter that sirens were sounding in southern Israel.
The attacks rekindle fears of new clashes between Jews and Palestinians less than a month after the ceasefire that ended the 11-day conflict between the two sides.
Tensions between Israel and Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, rose this week after a march in East Jerusalem on Tuesday (15), which brought together thousands of Israelis.
Dancing, carrying Israeli flags and chanting phrases such as “the people of Israel live” and, although less frequently, “died to the Arabs,” a crowd filled the square in front of the Damascus Gate, one of the entrances. from the old town. The group, accompanied by a large contingent of police, was mainly made up of Jews, nationalists and supporters of the ultra-right.
Viewing the march as a provocation, Palestinians called for protests in the Gaza Strip and areas of the Israeli-occupied West Bank. The so-called “day of fury” brings to mind still fresh memories of clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police on the eve of the conflict that erupted last month.
Even before the event, incendiary balloons launched from the Gaza Strip set off several fires in Jewish community camps near the border with the Palestinian enclave. The action sparked an Israeli military airstrike in the early hours of Wednesday.
Hamas had warned of the danger of further hostilities during the march. The statement was seen as a test for Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who took office on Monday (14). Benjamin Netanyahu’s successor, who spent 12 years in power in Israel, heads a far-right party whose religious base could rage if the march were subject to a change of course or a further postponement.
Originally, the flag march was scheduled for May 10, as part of the Jerusalem Day festivities, when Israel celebrates the capture of the city’s eastern region in the 1967 Six Day War. before it began, however, the march was diverted from the Damascus Gate, an action insufficient to deter Hamas from launching rockets at Jerusalem.
The attack marked the start of the most recent conflict with Israel. Jerusalem is at the center of this clash. On the one hand, Israel claims the entire city, including its eastern sector captured in the 1967 war, as its capital. The Palestinians, on the other hand, are seeking to make East Jerusalem the capital of a future Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza.