Attacks were in response to incendiary balloons launched from Gaza Strip, the IDF said
The Israeli Defense Forces confirmed in the early hours of Wednesday local time that its aircraft attacked armed compounds belonging to Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The attacks were in response to the launching of incendiary balloons from Gaza on Tuesday that caused fires in fields in southern Israel.
In a statement, the military said the aircraft attacked the Hamas compounds in both Gaza City and the southern town of Khan Younis. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) added that it was “ready for all scenarios, including renewed fighting in the face of continued terrorist acts emanating from Gaza.”
A Hamas spokesman, confirming the Israeli attacks, said it would continue to pursue its “brave resistance and defend their [Palestinians’] rights and sacred sites” in Jerusalem.
It comes after dozens of Palestinians clashed with the IDF near the Old City’s Damascus Gate along the Gaza border on Tuesday, as thousands of people participated in an Israeli nationalist march in East Jerusalem.
The Israeli fire brigade reported that at least 20 fires were sparked by the explosive-laden arson balloons.
According to Israeli outlet Haaretz, the Islamic Jihad terrorist group called on Palestinians in Israel and the West Bank to gather along the route of the planned Jerusalem Flag March to “protect the Al-Aqsa Mosque”—a compound revered by Jews as the Temple Mount and by Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary.
The planned Jewish nationalist march was originally scheduled for May 10 as part of annual Jerusalem Day festivities that commemorate the reunification of Jerusalem and Israel’s control over the Old City in East Jerusalem in the aftermath of the Six Day War in June 1967. In a recent statement, the IDF said that during the Six Day War 54 years ago, it had “successfully defended the State of Israel against enemy countries on three different fronts, in just six days.”
The march route on Tuesday began at the Damascus Gate of Jerusalem’s Old City and moved to Judaism’s holy Western Wall.