Jerusalem: Hours after violent clashes between Palestinian protesters and troops along the border, Israeli planes struck Hamas militant targets in the Gaza Strip early Sunday, reports Associated Press.
Israel planes bombed a Hamas militant facility in the Gaza Strip in response to the launching of incendiary balloons into southern Israel and protests staged for a second consecutive week, said Israeli military in a statement.
Reacting to the developments, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett reacted to reporters in Washington that Israel will operate in Gaza according to the country's interests, before boarding a flight to Israel after wrapping up a state visit with US President Joe Biden.
On Saturday, hundreds of Hamas-backed activists staged a nighttime protest along the Israeli border, throwing explosives toward Israeli forces who responded with live fire. Gaza health officials said three people were injured by Israeli fire. Additional protests were planned through the week.
The decision to resume the protests near the borders with Israel was made earlier on Saturday by members of "the night disturbance units", which comprise members of various Palestinian factions, including the Islamic Hamas Movement.
"These activities were resumed and will continue until the siege is lifted and Palestinian demands are fulfilled," the group said, adding that the activities will include launching incendiary balloons.
Protests in the Gaza Strip were recently escalated near the fence of the borders after Israel tightened the blockade imposed since 2007. Leaders of the Palestinian factions insist that the anti-Israel activities in eastern Gaza will continue until the Jewish state completely lifts the blockade.
Israel and Egypt have maintained the blockade since Hamas, a group sworn to Israel's destruction, seized control of Gaza in a 2007 coup after winning Palestinian elections. Israel and Hamas have fought four wars since, the most recent in May.
The blockade restricts the movement of goods and people in and out of Gaza and has ravaged the territory's economy. Israel has tightened the closure since an 11-day war in May, demanding the return of the remains of two dead soldiers and freedom for two Israeli civilians believed to be in Hamas captivity.
Egypt is working to shore up a cease-fire to end May's fighting and appeared to be making progress last week.
At least 260 Palestinians were killed during May's Hamas-Israel war, including 67 children and 39 women, according to the Gaza health ministry. Hamas has acknowledged the deaths of 80 militants. Twelve civilians, including two children, were killed in Israel, along with one soldier