Israeli warplanes pounded Hamas-ruled Gaza early Tuesday in response to Palestinian fire balloon attacks across the border, the Israeli army said.
The strikes came as visiting Egyptian security officials strove to defuse the latest uptick in violence, a Hamas source said.
“Fighter jets and (other) aircraft struck underground infrastructures belonging to the Hamas terror organisation in the Gaza Strip,” an Israeli military statement said.
It linked the airstrikes to “explosive and arson balloons launched from the Gaza Strip into Israel”.
In a statement yesterday, the Israeli Defence Force said it had decided “to entirely shut down the fishing zone of the Gaza Strip, immediately and until further notice, starting this morning.”
Since the last few days, balloon attacks are being launched from the Gaza Strip into Israel border regions. The intensity of these attacks has increased since Tuesday, and fires started in at least 80 locations in the Israeli border region following the attacks. As per the information shared by the Israeli agencies, losses have been caused due to the fires in the Hof Ashkelon and Eshkol regions. Israel launched massive attacks on Hamas locations in Gaza Strip, accusing that Hamas was responsible for the balloon attacks.
Israeli fighter jets, helicopters, and tanks targeted the tunnel network, surveillance posts, military and naval bases of Hamas. The media in Gaza said that the attacks were carried out on Hamas locations from Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza, to the Rafah city in the south. It is being said that Hamas suffered huge losses in the Israeli strikes. But Hamas has not given any reaction. Following the attacks, Israel has started imposing sanctions against Gaza. The Kerem Shalom road, connecting Israel and Gaza, has been closed. At the same time, to corner Gaza, Israel has stopped the fuel supply and has restricted the fishing area.
Despite a truce last year backed by Egypt, the UN and Qatar, Hamas and Israel clash sporadically, with Palestinian incendiary balloons or rocket or mortar fire drawing retaliatory Israeli strikes.
“The occupation continued its aggression and carried out airstrikes on Gaza after midnight,” the Hamas source said, adding that the strikes were seen as a “negative response” to the truce feelers.
In response, Israel has closed its Kerem Shalom goods crossing with the Gaza Strip, imposed a ban on fishing off the Gaza coast and, in the past few days, staged nightly air raids.