Israel Launches Airstrikes on Gaza After Palestinian Militants Sent Incendiary Balloons

Israel launched airstrikes in the early hours of June 16 in the Gaza Strip in response to the incendiary balloons sent by Palestinian militants.

Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) said that its “fighter jets struck military compounds belonging to the Hamas terror organization” who had earlier launched “arson balloons” on June 15.

IDF added that its aircraft targeted “facilities and meeting sites for terror operatives” in Gaza City and the southern town of Khan Yunis.

The Israeli military also said that it was “prepared for all scenarios, including the resumption of hostilities, in the face of continued terror acts from the Gaza Strip.”

According to the Israeli fire service, the incendiary balloons caused at least 20 fires in southern Israel.

The attacks followed a march by far-right Jewish nationalist groups through Arab neighborhoods in occupied East Jerusalem where Israeli police fired rubber bullets and tear gas at Palestinians protesting against the march on June 15. The march had also received threats from Hamas.

The attacks mark the first flare-up between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants after a ceasefire ended the 11-day of escalated violence last May, which killed 260 Palestinians and 13 people in Israel.

The violent exchange is also the first since the new Israeli coalition government came into power last June 13, ousting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after his 12 years in office. Far-right politician Naftali Bennet heads the new government.

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