Israel strikes Hamas targets in Gaza after balloon attacks

Israeli workers from the Nature and Parks Authority try to extinguish a fire caused by an incendiary balloon launched from the Gaza Strip, near Be'eri Kibbutz, on August 13, 2020. (AFP)

Fresh Israeli air and tank strikes hit Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip late Friday, Israel’s army said, in further reprisals for firebombs suspended from balloons that floated over the border from Gaza.

“Fighter jets, military helicopters and tanks targeted Hamas positions in the Gaza Strip,” including “the navel defense system used by Hamas, underground infrastructure and observation posts,” the Israeli army said in a statement, specifying that this was a response to the balloon bombs.

The Palestinian Red Crescent said that a pregnant woman and a three-year-old child were injured in the attacks and taken to hospital.

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The attacks come a day after the announcement of a deal to normalize relations between Israeli and the United Arab Emirates that has been denounced by the Palestinians, including Hamas.

Friday’s attacks on sites used by Hamas were the sixth such night-time operation this week.

Hamas on Thursday condemned Israel’s attacks on Gaza and its sanctions as “dangerous and aggressive behavior,” warning of “consequences” Israel will bear.

Islamist group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, has fought three wars against Israel since 2008.

Despite a truce last year backed by the UN, Egypt and Qatar, the two sides clash sporadically with rockets, mortar fire or incendiary balloons.

The Gaza Strip has a population of two million, more than half of whom live in poverty, according to the World Bank.

Palestinian analysts say fire from Gaza often aims to pressure Israel to give the green light for the transfer of Qatari financial aid into the strip.

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Last Update: Saturday, 15 August 2020 KSA 01:44 - GMT 22:44
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