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Israel strikes Hamas site in Gaza over fire balloons

Published: Updated:

Israel attacked Gaza military targets late Saturday, the army and Palestinian sources said, after incendiary balloons from the Palestinian territory caused fires in Israel in recent days.

The Israeli army said fighter jets had “struck a weapon manufacturing site and a rocket launcher belonging to the Hamas terror organization.”

According to security sources and witnesses in Gaza, the facilities hit were west of Gaza City and in the northern Strip, with no immediate reports of casualties.

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“The strikes were made in response to the arson balloons fired towards Israeli territory,” said a statement from the Israeli army.

Incendiary balloons from Gaza caused fires in southern Israel’s Eshkol region on Saturday and Friday, according to the fire service.

On Thursday, four small fires caused by incendiary balloons from Gaza were extinguished in the Eshkol region.

Israel retaliated early Friday with air strikes, which the army said struck “a weapons manufacturing site” belonging to Gaza’s Hamas Islamist rulers.

Eleven days of deadly fighting between Israel and Hamas, as well as other Palestinian armed groups based in the enclave, ended on May 21 with a ceasefire declaration.

There was no immediate indication as to which Gaza-based group was responsible for the latest balloon launch.

There have been multiple flare-ups since the ceasefire, including a series of balloon launches last month, to which Israel has responded with air strikes.

The May conflict killed 260 Palestinians including some fighters, according to Gaza authorities.

In Israel, 13 people were killed, including a soldier, by projectiles fired from Gaza, the police and army said.