Skip to main content

Israel strikes Hamas in Gaza for second day after incendiary balloons

Security source in Palestinian enclave confirms strike hit base belonging to military wing of Hamas, with no injuries reported
Smoke rises following Israeli air strike on Gaza City on 15 January (AFP)

The Israeli military said an attack helicopter struck a Hamas target in the northern besieged Gaza Strip late Thursday in response to the launch of incendiary balloons into Israeli territory earlier in the day, the Associated Press reported.

"A short while ago, an attack helicopter struck infrastructure used for underground activities” of the Hamas movement in the northern Gaza Strip, an army statement said, according to AFP.

It said the strike was in response to balloons with attached explosive devices that were floated across the separation fence during the day. Such balloons are sometimes used to try and start fires in the Israeli farmlands and neighbourhoods near the border.

Israeli police said the balloons touched down in southern Israel and a bomb squad was dispatched. Police said there was an explosion, but there were no injuries, AP reported.

A security source in the Palestinian enclave - which has been under a crippling Israeli-led blockade since 2007 - confirmed the strike had hit a base belonging to the military wing of Hamas, with no injuries reported.

On Wednesday evening, Israeli forces had also struck Hamas targets in Gaza in retaliation for four rockets fired from the strip

The last time Palestinians fired rockets at Israel was about three weeks ago, when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was attending a campaign event in the southern port city of Ashkelon, Haaretz said. The rocket fire forced Netanyahu to leave the stage mid-speech and seek shelter.

Israel has fought three wars with Hamas and allied groups since 2008.