Gaza, new Israeli raids in response to the launch of incendiary balloons

During the night, jets hit Hamas positions in the Strip. For the third consecutive day, militants had launched balloons towards southern Israel. There are no casualties or injuries. The Israeli army ready to "step up preparation" in view of a "resumption of hostilities".

Gaza (AsiaNews) - Israeli air force jets launched a series of air strikes, the second in a few days, against targets of the extremist Hamas movement in Gaza. An army spokesman said fighter jets hit militia positions in response to the launch of incendiary balloons yesterday afternoon. The explosions were also alerted by eyewitnesses inside the Strip, but they did not cause any casualties or injuries.

"There were targeted bombings in specific places", Fr. Gabriel Romanelli, Argentine priest of the Incarnate Word and responsible for the parish of the Holy Family. "We did not hear much in the parish, but the fear remains that the bombings may resume".

The launch of rockets and the air raids in response "are commonplace here" and did not upset the program of the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Pierbattista Pizzaballa’s visit to the Strip from 14 to 17 June, where he also celebrated communions and confirmations.

This is the second military operation in Gaza since the beginning of the week and since the end of the devastating 11-day conflict in May, which left hundreds of victims and injured. Israel claims to have hit a Hamas military site and a rocket launching post, located in Gaza City and in Khan Younès, a town in the south of the Strip.

In the area, where a very tough economic and commercial blockade imposed by Israel against Hamas, which governs the territory, has been in place for 15 years, about two million people live in a sort of "open-air prison".

The attacks of the night are a response to the launch of incendiary balloons filled with helium, a simple and inexpensive weapon used by militiamen to set fire to cultivated fields across the border in southern Israel.

General Aviv Kohavi, head of the Israeli army, asked the General Staff "to increase preparedness" in view of a "scenario" that could also include "the resumption of hostilities" with Hamas and Islamic Jihad. A not too veiled threat to the aspirations for peace when the memory of the latest violence is still alive.

According to some, the launch of the incendiary balloons in the last three days is linked to the controversial "March of the flag" on June 15 through the streets of Jerusalem, which crossed areas disputed with the Palestinians.