JERUSALEM, Israel – The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) hit several Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip early Tuesday morning.
"Recently, IDF fighter jets, tanks and aircraft attacked military bases and underground infrastructure of the Hamas terrorist organization in the southern Gaza Strip," the IDF said in a statement.
"The IDF conducts an ongoing situation assessment and acts firmly and resolutely against any attempt to carry out terrorist activity against the citizens of the State of Israel and the violation of its sovereignty."
The strikes are in response to dozens of incendiary balloons sent into Israeli territory from Gaza in recent weeks. The balloons sparked at least 36 fires in Israel on Monday. Most of the fires are minor but one children’s pre-school was partially damaged, The Jerusalem Post reports.
Terrorists in Gaza have also launched occasional rockets at Israel. A majority of these rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system and no casualties have been reported.
Senior Hamas official Ismail Radwan told Palestinian media Monday that the violence will continue unless the blockade on Gaza is lifted.
“It is our right to break this siege,” Radwan told the pro-Hamas channel Palestine Today.
Israel and Egypt have maintained a blockade on Gaza since Hamas took control in 2007. The blockade was instated to prevent the import of weapons into Gaza. Israel frequently tightens the blockade in response to attacks.
Last week, Israel cut off fuel to Gaza’s only power plant, forcing it to shut down. The move leaves two million Gazans with only about four hours of electricity per day. Israel said it cut off fuel in response to repeated balloon attacks.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Hamas against escalating the violence and said Israel is prepared to fight.
Why does Judaism matter and how is it connected to Christianity? Learn more here.