The IDF said it had struck a camp and rocket launching position in the Hamas-owned Strip, adding that it “would continue to respond with strikes to terrorist attempts in Gaza.”
Residents of the Palestinian enclave and Israeli communities near the border said they heard explosions in the northern Gaza Strip.
Other Palestinian media reports indicated that Hamas operatives fired machine guns at Israeli planes over the Strip.
The airstrikes came after at least four brush fires were started in southern Israel by balloons carrying incendiary devices that were launched Friday from the Hamas-led gang.
Three of the fires started in Kissufim Forest and another in Be’eri Forest, two nature reserves located on the border with Israel and Gaza, a spokesperson for the Jewish National Fund said.
In Gaza, the so-called balloon unit, Ahfad an-Nassar, said it launched airborne incendiary devices at Israel in solidarity with Lebanon.
“We will not be humiliated,” the group said in a brief statement Friday.
Earlier on Friday, Hezbollah fired 19 rockets at northern Israel from Lebanon, in the largest such dam since the Second Lebanon War in 2006, sending residents of several cities in the Golan Heights and Galilee in shelters.
If today was not already busy enough, the Palestinian group Ahfad an-Nassar claims to have launched incendiary balloons from Gaza towards southern Israel, in solidarity with Lebanon. At least 1 fire reported in the Eshkol area. pic.twitter.com/tJ3Gqf9ZYr
– Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian (@manniefabian) August 6, 2021
Israel responded with artillery strikes. Witnesses reported artillery fire by Israeli forces from the Lebanese side of Shebaa Farms and outside the town of Kfar Shouba.
Over the past three years, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, mainly linked to Hamas and other terrorist groups, have launched thousands of airborne incendiaries and explosives into southern Israel, causing widespread fires and significant damage to agricultural fields, nature reserves and property.
Recently, Israel has started responding to such attacks with strikes in Gaza.
There had been no incendiary balloon launch since late last month.
Hamas used the launching of incendiary devices to keep pressure on Israel to go along with reconstruction efforts in the Strip.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.