Israel and Hamas-controlled Gaza have resumed hostilities with a vengeance, with Tel Aviv unleashing a barrage of missiles into the territory in response to "arson balloons," as tensions rose under the new Israeli government.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) stated they attacked a “military compound and a missile launch site” run by Hamas, the Gaza Strip's ruling party. According to the IDF, the strikes were carried out Thursday night in reprisal for incendiary balloons launched from Gaza.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">In response to arson balloons launched from Gaza into Israel, we struck military compounds and a rocket launch site belonging to Hamas in Gaza.<br><br>The IDF has increased its readiness for various scenarios & will continue to strike Hamas terror targets in Gaza. <a href="https://t.co/awnCMTcSD9">pic.twitter.com/awnCMTcSD9</a></p>— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) <a href="https://twitter.com/IDF/status/1405630616113135617?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">June 17, 2021</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
According to Israeli media, the balloons started eight fires on Thursday, including seven in the Eshkol region and one in a field near Shaar Hanegev, following four on Wednesday.
Sirens erupted on the Kfar Aza kibbutz in southern Israel shortly after Israel bombed the suspected Hamas sites, with the IDF claiming the alarms were prompted by "incoming fire, not missiles."
The moment a hail of machine-gun fire was aimed against the community, according to CCTV evidence.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Israeli war planes target Khan Younis in southern <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Gaza?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Gaza</a> after bombing the ancient city of Beit Lahia just north of Jabalia <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GazaUnderAttack?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GazaUnderAttack</a> <a href="https://t.co/7Talz2UqrG">pic.twitter.com/7Talz2UqrG</a></p>— Sarah Wilkinson (@swilkinsonbc) <a href="https://twitter.com/swilkinsonbc/status/1405664816535068679?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">June 17, 2021</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
The violence erupted after a divisive ‘Flag March' through Jerusalem earlier this week, which was organized by Israeli nationalist groups to mark Tel Aviv's triumph in the 1967 Six-Day War, when it seized East Jerusalem. Originally slated for May, the event was postponed due to rising tensions in Gaza, which culminated in fighting at the end of the 11-day Ramadan vacation. Despite the fact that the march's route was eventually changed to avoid violence, clashes broke out in Jerusalem and elsewhere, resulting in multiple injuries and the arrest of more than a dozen Palestinians.
The strikes on Thursday are the second flare-up since Egypt brokered an Israel-Gaza ceasefire last month, following a violent war that killed more than 250 Palestinians and 13 Israelis. It's also the first military operation under the new Israeli coalition government, which gained power on Sunday after long-time Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stepped down.