Israel retaliates after Hamas fire bombs

·1-min read

Israeli fighter jets have struck what officials described as a weapons manufacturing site in Gaza in response to incendiary balloons launched over the frontier into Israel.

There were no immediate reports of casualties from the strike, which the military said targeted a facility used by the Islamic militant group Hamas to research and develop weapons.

It was the third time Israel has carried out airstrikes in Gaza since the end of the 11-day conflict with the territory's militant Hamas rulers in May.

Each came after activists mobilised by Hamas launched incendiary balloons that caused fires in nearby Israeli farming communities.

Hamas uses such tactics to pressure Israel and international mediators to ease a crippling blockade imposed on Gaza when the group seized power from rival Palestinian forces in 2007.

Israel has vowed to respond to even minor attacks.

Egyptian and international mediators have been trying to shore up the informal ceasefire that ended the most recent bloodshed.

In recent days, Israel has eased restrictions to allow in Qatar-funded fuel, extend Gaza's fishing zone and permit increased cross-border commerce.

Israel says such steps are contingent on Hamas preserving calm along the frontier.

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