Israel launches fresh strikes on Hamas targets in Gaza Strip
The latest round of hostilities has seen firebombs attached to bunches of balloons floating into Israel, setting scrub land ablaze. Sometimes kites are used in the makeshift attacks.
Israel's military on Thursday said it had carried out fresh overnight strikes on Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, in response to incendiary balloons launched across the border from the Palestinian enclave.
The latest round of hostilities has seen firebombs attached to bunches of balloons floating into Israel, setting scrubland ablaze. Sometimes kites are used in the makeshift attacks.
In response to that, Israel has closed a goods crossing with Gaza and slashed the territory's permitted coastal fishing zone, as well as launching air strikes on sites owned by the enclave's Islamist rulers Hamas.
"Over the last week, explosive balloons are being launched from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory," the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) said in a statement early Thursday.
The army said the strikes were aimed at a military compound and observation posts used by Hamas militants, who also fired a volley of rockets into the sea this week after repeated exchanges of fire.
According to the Gaza security source, Israeli warplanes had carried out several strikes on Hamas sites.
Israeli fire services in the south of the country reported 60 fires caused by balloons on Tuesday, and 24 on Wednesday, without recording any casualties.
The Gaza Strip has a population of two million, more than half of whom live in poverty, according to the World Bank.
In June, Israeli aircraft attacked Hamas sites in the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian security source told media after Israel reported three rockets fired at its territory. The Israeli military said that its aircraft attacked "underground infrastructure belonging to the Hamas terror organisation" in response to the rocket fire.
Israel's proposal to annex its settlements in the West Bank and the Jordan Valley forms part of a broader US peace plan released in January.
Last year, Israel struck Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip after a rocket attack on its territory.
Hamas and Israel have fought three wars since 2008.