Gaza militants launched dozens of rockets and flaming kites into Israel’s south, drawing retaliatory Israeli strikes, in one of the fiercest confrontations between the sides since Palestinian protests along the border peaked in mid-May.
Israeli aircraft targeted about 25 military sites belonging to Gaza’s ruling Hamas group, the army said, warning that the group was dragging Gaza along a “continually deteriorating path.”
Hamas said militants fired four dozen rockets and mortars in response to attacks on the group’s military facilities. No fatalities were reported. Israel first struck after militants sent firebomb kites into Israel, where they’ve scorched thousands of acres of farmland and nature reserves in recent weeks. The army has struggled to find a solution to the improvised weapons.
Gaza’s 25-mile-long border with Israel has been volatile since Palestinians launched weekly protests on March 30 to press their demand to reclaim land they fled or were expelled from around Israel’s 1948 creation. Israeli forces have killed 130 Palestinians during the protests, saying most were involved in violence. Palestinians say Israeli troops fire indiscriminately on peaceful demonstrators.
Hamas has failed to bring large crowds to the border since 60 Palestinians were killed in confrontations with troops timed to coincide with the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem.