Israel strikes Hamas sites in Gaza in response to fire balloons

No immediate reports of casualties or damage

Israeli aircraft bombed Hamas sites in the Gaza Strip on Saturday in response to incendiary balloons launched from the Palestinian enclave, Israel's military has said.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage from the strike on what the military said was a rocket launching site and a compound belonging to Hamas, the group that rules Gaza. Hamas had no immediate comment.

Since a May 21 ceasefire ended 11 days of Israel-Hamas fighting, Palestinians in Gaza have sporadically launched balloons laden with incendiary material across the border, causing fires that have burnt fields in Israel.

Palestinians say the balloons aim to put pressure on Israel to ease restrictions on the coastal enclave that were tightened during the May fighting.

Balloon launches had mostly ebbed after Israel eased some restrictions on Gaza.

But on Friday, balloons were again launched from Gaza, causing at least four bushfires in areas near the Israel-Gaza frontier.

The Israeli military said its air strikes were in "response to continual launches of incendiary balloons from Gaza into Israel throughout the day".

The blazes along the Gaza frontier broke out on Friday as Israel separately traded fire over its northern border with Lebanon's Iran-backed group Hezbollah, in a third day of cross-border salvoes amid wider regional tensions with Iran.

Updated: August 7th 2021, 8:09 AM