GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip
Israeli aviation bombed various sites belonging to the rebel group Hamas in the Gaza Strip for the fifth consecutive night, the Israeli army reported early Sunday.
Shortly after the announcement, the army indicated that the Palestinian rebels in Gaza fired two missiles toward southern Israel that were intercepted by air defense systems. At the moment there are no reports of injuries.
The army said the airstrikes were in response to incendiary balloons released by Hamas-affiliated groups from Gaza into Israeli territory. The balloons have caused dozens of fires that have destroyed Israeli agricultural land in recent days.
On Saturday, dozens of Palestinians participated in nightly protests along the fence that demarcates Gaza from Israel. The army added that the protesters “set tires on fire, threw explosive devices and grenades at the security fence and tried to get close to it.”
The Gaza Health Ministry reported that two protesters were wounded by Israeli gunfire.
Israel blamed Hamas, which rules Gaza, for all violent acts originating from Palestinian territory.
After months of a lull reinforced by the coronavirus pandemic, the border between Gaza and Israel turned contentious in the last week.
Khalil al-Hayya, a senior Hamas official, on Saturday accused Israel of breaking an informal truce to ease the blockade it has imposed on Gaza since Hamas took control in 2007.
The official told al-Aqsa television that the Palestinian people in Gaza are experiencing a “slow death” due to the blockade.
“The zone of confrontation with the enemy is expanding day after day due to its continuous aggression,” he said.
He noted that Egyptian mediators were scheduled to visit the region to discuss a strengthening of the truce but there is no set date.