Israel hits Hamas in Gaza with rockets and balloons

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TEL AVIV / GAZA (Reuters) – Israeli planes and tanks hit Hamas facilities in Gaza on Friday and militants fired half a dozen rockets at southern Israel, the military said, as the mediators strove to work for calm along the unstable border.

Smoke rises following an Israeli airstrike in the Gaza Strip on August 28, 2020. REUTERS / Mohammed Shana

No injuries were reported on either side. The United Nations envoy to the Middle East urged activists in Israel and Gaza to end the violence.

The IDF said it struck an underground infrastructure and military post owned by Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas overnight in response to incendiary balloons launched from the Palestinian enclave that burned Israeli farmland.

Gaza militants then fired six rockets at Israel, the army said, prompting a second round of Israeli strikes that hit an armed Hamas training camp.

An IDF spokesman said he had no information on where the Gaza rockets landed, but none of them had been intercepted by its Iron Dome system.

Hamas has tried to pressure Israel to ease its blockade of Gaza and allow more investment, in part by letting the Palestinians launch dozens of helium balloons carrying incendiary materials to southern Israel. those last weeks.

With high tension, Israel closed its only commercial crossing point with Gaza, barred access to the sea, and halted fuel imports into the Mediterranean coastal strip, leading to the shutdown of its only power plant during the week last.

“The militants continue to throw projectiles and incendiary devices. The tightening of the closures makes life inside the Gaza Strip unbearable, ”UN envoy to the Middle East Nickolay Mladenov said on Twitter.

“Under the current circumstances, any mediation effort to prevent escalation and improve the situation cannot be successful.”

Mediators from the United Nations, Egypt and Qatar are working to restore calm. Qatari envoy Mohammad Al-Emadi has been in Gaza since Tuesday for talks with Hamas leaders.

Israel has hit Hamas facilities almost every night for the past two weeks, claiming it will not tolerate balloons.

Health officials have expressed concern that shutting down the power plant could exacerbate a new coronavirus outbreak in the poor Gaza Strip, home to 2 million Palestinians.

Report by Rami Ayyub and Nidal al-Mughrabi; Editing by Stephen Coates and Mark Heinrich

Our standards:Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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