Israel strikes Hamas sites over fire balloons; woman shot dead by Israelis in West Bank
Israel carried out air strikes on the Gaza Strip early yesterday after militants in the Palestinian territory sent incendiary balloons into the south of the country, in the first flare-up between the two sides since a major conflict killed hundreds last month.
Tension spilled over to the occupied West Bank, where the Israeli army said they shot a Palestinian woman after she attempted to attack soldiers.
The Gaza strikes were the first under the new coalition government headed by Naftali Bennett, who took over on Sunday after ousting longtime PM Benjamin Netanyahu.
The uptick in violence came after more than a thousand Jewish ultranationalist demonstrators bearing Israeli flags poured into Jerusalem's flashpoint Old City on Tuesday.Israeli police fired stun grenades and foam-tipped bullets to disperse Palestinians from the route. Medics said 33 Palestinians were wounded. at least 17 arrests were made.
According to Palestinian sources, the Israeli air force targeted at least one site east of Khan Yunis in the south of the Gaza Strip. The Israeli military said the hit facility was a "meeting sites for terror operatives" in Khan Yunis. There was no indication of any casualties.
The military added that it was "prepared for any scenario, including a resumption of hostilities, in the face of continuing terror activities from the Gaza Strip."
Israeli firefighters said the incendiary balloons caused around 20 fires.
The violence is the first flare-up between Israel and Palestinian militants since a ceasefire took effect on May 21, ending 11 days of heavy fighting that killed 260 Palestinians. In Israel, 13 people were killed by rockets and missiles fired from Gaza.
Both the United Nationas and the United States had called for restraint before the march, which Bennett's new government had authorised.