The Israeli military said early Wednesday that its warplanes raided compounds in Gaza after officials claimed that Hamas had sent incendiary balloons into Israel — the first such violence since a cease-fire between the two ended 11 days of fighting last month.
“A short while ago, warplanes raided military compounds belonging to Hamas, which were used as camps and meeting sites for terrorist operatives in Khan Yunis and Gaza districts,” a spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces, or IDF, said Wednesday on Twitter, according to a translation. “Terrorist activities have taken place inside the compounds.”
The military said the raids were a response to shooting from the area toward Israeli territory.
“The IDF is prepared for all scenarios, including renewed fighting, in the face of the continuation of terrorist acts emanating” from Hamas, the IDF said in a tweet; it showed video of the strike in another.
Hundreds of people, some chanting “Death to Arabs,” marched through east Jerusalem on Tuesday, The Associated Press reported. Palestinians in Gaza responded by launching incendiary balloons, which often carry Molotov cocktails or other combustible devices, which caused at least 10 fires in southern Israel, the AP reported.
Media reports from the region did not indicate that there were casualties in the airstrikes. Palestinians considered the march to be a provocation, but Hamas called on Palestinians to “resist” the parade so as to not ignite another war, according to the AP.
An unlikely coalition recently came together to oust Benjamin Netanyahu as Israel’s prime minister after 12 consecutive years in power and three more before that — which made him the country’s longest-tenured leader.
After the new government was sworn in this month, Netanyahu and his right-wing Likud party moved to the opposition for the first time in more than a decade.
Naftali Bennett, a right-wing leader who is Netanyahu’s former protégé, will be the next prime minister, holding office for the first two years of the new government’s term. He will then hand the role to Yair Lapid, the leader of the centrist Yesh Atid party.