Israeli planes target Gaza for seventh straight night

Attacks on Gaza continued for the seventh straight night as Israeli warplanes targeted Hamas observation posts in response to Palestinian fire balloon attacks across the border, the Israeli army said.

Tuesday’s air raids came as visiting Egyptian security officials strove to defuse the latest uptick in violence.

“Fighter jets and [other] aircraft struck underground infrastructures belonging to Hamas in the Gaza Strip,” an Israeli military statement said, linking the attack to “explosive and arson balloons launched from the Gaza Strip into Israel”.

Gaza security sources and witnesses said Tuesday’s raids hit Hamas lookout posts at Rafah in the south of the territory and Beit Lahia in the north.

Tensions have been rising for more than a week, with Israel accusing Hamas of firing rockets and launching bundles of balloons across the border fitted with incendiary or explosive devices.

Israel has closed the Karem Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) goods crossing with the Gaza Strip, imposed a ban on fishing off the Gaza coast and staged nightly air raids for seven nights.

The Palestinian territory has been under a crippling Israeli blockade since 2007, with Israel citing security threats from Hamas for its land, air and naval blockade.

It was expected to return to Gaza after those talks, the source added.

“The occupation continued its aggression and carried out air strikes on Gaza after midnight,” the Hamas source said, adding that the attacks were seen as a “negative response” to the truce feelers.

There were no casualties in the raids, he added.

Despite a truce last year – backed by Egypt, Qatar and the UN – tensions between Hamas and Israel rise sporadically.

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