Israel launches air strikes on besieged Palestinians in Gaza

Explosions light up the night sky above buildings in Gaza City as Israeli forces shell the Palestinian enclave, early on June 16, 2021. (AFP)

Wednesday’s was the first Israeli strike in the Palestinian enclave since a ceasefire ended 11 days of war last month that killed some 260 Palestinians.

Israel has launched air strikes on besieged Gaza, the first Israeli strike in the Palestinian enclave since a ceasefire ended 11 days of war last month.

The strikes came early on Wednesday as far-right Israeli settlers marched in occupied East Jerusalem followed by incendiary balloons from Gaza into southern Israel, security sources and witnesses said.

The air strikes marked the first major flare-up between Israel and Palestinians in Gaza since a ceasefire on May 21 ended 11 days of war that killed 260 Palestinians, according to Gaza authorities, and 13 people in Israel, the police and army there said.

Far-right march

A Hamas radio station said an Israeli aircraft attacked a Palestinian training camp in the Gaza. Israeli military confirmed striking Gaza enclave.

In a statement, it said that it was “ready for all scenarios, including renewed fighting in the face of continued terrorist acts emanating from Gaza”.

Israeli fire brigade said balloons from Gaza caused some 20 blazes in open fields in communities near the frontier.

Hamas, which governs Gaza, had threatened to take military action in response to a controversial flag march organised by Israeli far-right settlers in occupied East Jerusalem.

The US and UN had called for restraint before the far-right march, which the government of new Israeli PM Bennett had authorised.

Police deployed heavily, blocking roads and firing stun grenades and foam-tipped bullets to remove Palestinians from the main route.

Medics said 33 Palestinians were wounded and police said two officers were injured and 17 people were arrested.

Israeli settlers celebrated the anniversary of Jerusalem’s “re-unification” after Israel captured East Jerusalem from Jordan in 1967 and annexed it, a move not recognised by most of the international community.