August 4, 2021

Hamas sends fire balloons – Israel attacks Gaza Strip

Contrary to the agreed ceasefire, Israel launched an air strike on Gaza. The army said the attack was in response to the launch of incendiary balloons on Israeli territory.

Israel launched air strikes in the Gaza Strip again on Wednesday night. According to reports from Palestinian security circles, the Israeli army reacted to attacks with fire balloons from the Palestinian territory. During protests against the so-called flag march in Jerusalem on Tuesday, demonstrators had incendiary devices attached to balloons flying into southern Israel, which, according to the Israeli fire service, caused at least 20 fires.

According to Palestinian sources, at least one target in the city of Chan Junis in the Gaza Strip was shot at in the airstrike. A photographer from the AFP news agency saw several explosions in Chan Junis.

It was the first Israeli air strikes in Gaza since the end of the 11-day conflict between Israel and radical Islamic Hamas in May. The conflict escalated on May 10 when Hamas fired massive rockets at Israel in response to clashes between Palestinians and police in East Jerusalem.

Riots during protests against the flag march

By the time a ceasefire entered into force on May 21, 260 Palestinians, including dozens of children, had been killed in the Gaza Strip. According to the army, 13 people were killed in the rocket attacks on Israel, including a child and a youth.

Thousands took part in the flag march in Jerusalem: The major event was the first test of the new government. (Source: Amir Levy // Getty Images)

On Tuesday there were protests in the Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank against the so-called flag march, in which more than a thousand ultra-right Israelis marched through Jerusalem. In the Gaza Strip, demonstrators set fire balloons on the border with Israel; in the West Bank, demonstrators set fire to car tires and pelted Israeli security forces with stones.

Even before the march began, there had been clashes between Palestinians and security forces in East Jerusalem when they cleared streets in the annexed eastern part of the city. Thousands of police officers were on duty during the march to stop rioting. According to rescue workers, 33 Palestinians were injured. The police reported 17 arrests.

With the flag march, nationalist Israelis commemorate the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem in the 1967 Six Day War.