Israeli fighter jets have launched a series of air raids on the Gaza Strip for the second time since a shaky ceasefire ended last month’s 11-day war.
Palestinian sources on the ground said Israeli missiles on Thursday hit several sites belonging to armed groups northwest of Gaza City and north of Beit Lahia in the besieged territory.
A civil administration building east of Jabaliya in the north was also targeted, in addition to an agricultural field east of the southern town of Khan Younis. No casualties were reported.Following the air attacks, Fawzi Barhoum, spokesman for Hamas, the group running the Strip, said in a statement that “the occupation’s bombing of the resistance sites is a demonstrative show by the new Israeli government”, referring to the administration that was approved on Sunday by Israel’s parliament, with right-wing nationalist Naftali Bennett sworn in as prime minister.
“The resistance will be on the lookout in defence of our people, our people and our holy sites,” the statement added.
The Hamas-owned Al Aqsa TV reported that an Israeli drone was downed west of Gaza City.
There have also been reports of Hamas opening fire with heavy machines guns towards Israel, prompting air raid sirens to rang out.
Israeli media reported that the army attacked Hamas targets inside the Gaza Strip in response to the continued launching of incendiary balloons by activists within the territory.
Palestinians fighters have been launching the balloons for a third day running on Thursday, according to Israel. The balloons are basic devices intended to set fire to farmland and bush near the border with Gaza.
In a statement, the army said it will “continue to destroy Hamas’ military capabilities and structures and hold it responsible for what is happening in the Gaza Strip”.On Thursday, US Secretary Antony Blinken spoke with Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid to discuss security issues and “ongoing challenges for Israel and the region.”
“The Secretary discussed the US commitment to Israel’s security, the importance of the US- Israel bilateral relationship, and the need to improve Israeli-Palestinian relations in practical ways,” US State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.
“Secretary Blinken and Minister Lapid underscored the strong partnership between the United States and Israel, and America’s unwavering support for Israel’s security,” the statement added.