The Israeli military said it launched new strikes in the Gaza Strip Sunday evening, targeting “two military posts” of the Palestinian terror group Hamas, which rules the Palestinian enclave.
The strikes, launched using unmanned aircraft, came after disturbances along the Gaza border with Israel turned violent on Sunday. The military announced earlier that it was reinforcing troops along the Gaza Strip border, as tensions rose along the frontier and as incendiary balloons sparked fresh fires in Israel.
The Israeli army said it “struck two military posts belonging to the Hamas terrorist organization” in Gaza’s Bureij and Jabalya areas where “violent riots” were taking place
“An explosive device was hurled from the center of Bureij toward soldiers, adjacent to the security border in the Gaza Strip,” the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement, adding that there were no troop injuries.
The Hamas-controlled health ministry in Gaza said that five Palestinians were injured “by Israeli bullets” during the rioting along the border.
Palestinians in Gaza have increasingly returned in recent weeks to the practice of launching incendiary devices tied to helium balloons into Israel. Such fire-starting contraptions have been responsible for numerous fires that have destroyed large tracts of land.
Firefighters said Sunday afternoon they had brought three blazes under control in the Gaza periphery, while stating that they were caused by incendiary balloons from the Strip.
On Saturday, the military carried out an airstrike on a Hamas position in the Gaza Strip following the latest riots along the border which included gunfire toward Israeli army forces. The Israel Defense Forces said a drone struck the post, located near the scene of the day’s riots.
Dozens of Palestinians rioted along the border with Israel earlier that day, in the latest violent rally near the barrier in what has become a daily occurrence.
Rioters burned tires and hurled makeshift bombs, and gunmen fired toward Israeli forces along the border. Footage showed terror operatives flying balloons carrying incendiary devices toward the border, though there were no reports of balloons sparking fires within Israel.
On Thursday, a Palestinian gunman who opened fire at Israeli forces during rioting on the border was shot and seriously wounded by a Border Police sniper.
Israel has kept shut its sole pedestrian crossing with the Gaza Strip since September 15 in response to rioting on the border.
The closure of Erez Crossing affects 17,000 Gazans who have permits to enter Israel for work. The Strip’s economy is harmed by the laborers being barred entry to Israel.
The rioting in recent weeks has left at least seven Palestinians dead, according to the Hamas-run health ministry in the Gaza Strip. Six of them were killed while mishandling a makeshift bomb that was supposed to be planted on the border, while the seventh was shot by Israeli soldiers.
No IDF soldiers have been wounded in the recent riots so far.
The riots, according to military assessments, come as Hamas seeks to resolve a dispute it has with Qatar over monthly funding the Gulf nation provides to the Palestinian enclave.
Hamas has reportedly asked Qatar to increase the monthly sum to adjust for inflation, but Doha so far has not agreed to the demand. The terror group apparently launched the riots on the Gaza border to pressure Israel, which would in turn pressure Qatar to solve the issue.
Gaza has been blockaded by both Israel and Egypt for over 15 years in an attempt to contain the enclave’s Hamas rulers. Israel says the tight restrictions on goods and people are necessary due to the terror group’s efforts to massively arm itself for attacks against the Jewish state.
Emanuel Fabian contributed to this report.