Israel launched a series of air raids on Palestinian positions in the besieged Gaza Strip late on Saturday and early Sunday in response to purported rocket fire from the enclave, Al Jazeera reported. Israeli warplanes reportedly hit at least 15 targets belonging to Palestinian militant group Hamas’ armed wing, the Al Qassam Brigades, the Israeli military said.
“This strike was conducted in response to the projectiles which were fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel last night, in addition to the acts of terror approved and led by the Hamas terror organisation throughout the weekend,” the military added.
The attacks targeted at least three Hamas compounds in the northern part of the strip. There were no reports of injuries.
The Israeli offensive comes days after the two sides agreed to a ceasefire to end what has been described as the worst hostilities between the Israelis and Palestinians since 2014.
Tensions escalated hours after thousands of Palestinians attended the funeral of a young female volunteer medic shot dead by Israeli snipers on the border in southern Gaza on Friday. Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that Palestinians had fired the rockets in response to the killing of 21-year-old Razzan Najjar. The Abu Arish Brigades, which is part of the Fatah-affiliated Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, claimed responsibility for firing the rockets. The organisation is a relatively small group compared to the Al Qassam Brigades and its power and capabilities are limited.
During the weekend, fires erupted at 20 sites on the Israeli side of the border. Israeli firefighting units claimed that the fires were caused by kite bombs set off by the Palestinians. The Israeli army also claimed to have foiled an infiltration attempt on Saturday by a terrorist cell that attempted to get across the border from the southern Gaza Strip.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian Health Ministry on Sunday reported the death of 30-year-old Mohammed Naim Hamada, who was shot by Israeli forces on May 14.
With Hamada’s death, 120 Palestinians have been killed since they began the ‘Great March of Return’ on March 30. Palestinian refugees have been demanding the right to return to their homes, which they were forced to flee from during the creation of Israel 70 years ago. The tensions were exacerbated by the United States’ decision to relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.