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Israel avenges burning balloons with airstrikes on Gaza refugee camp

Protestors seen at the Gaza-Israel border, gathered as part of the continuing 'Great March of Return' on July 13, 2018 [Mohammad Asad / Middle East Monitor]
Protestors at the Gaza-Israel border, gathered as part of the continuing 'Great March of Return', launch a balloon, on July 13, 2018 [Mohammad Asad / Middle East Monitor]

Israeli fighter jets carried out two airstrikes in the Gaza Strip early Sunday following the launch of incendiary balloons from the Palestinian territory, according to the military.

In a statement, the army said the attacks targeted two Hamas posts in the seaside enclave.

According to an Anadolu Agency reporter, the Israeli warplanes struck positions in Al-Awda refugee camp, east of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

No injuries were reported.

These airstrikes followed two other airstrikes earlier today, on eastern parts of the Bureyc refugee camp, which injured three Palestinians.

A Palestinian-launched "incendiary device" [balloon or kite] can be seen in the top-right, as Israeli forces shower Palestinians in a hail of tear gas, at the Gaza-Israel border, gathered as part of the continuing 'Great March of Return' on August 3, 2018 [Mohammad Asad / Middle East Monitor]

A Palestinian-launched “incendiary device” [balloon or kite] can be seen in the top-right, as Israeli forces shower Palestinians in a hail of tear gas, at the Gaza-Israel border, gathered as part of the continuing ‘Great March of Return’ on August 3, 2018 [Mohammad Asad / Middle East Monitor]

Palestinian activists have been flying burning kites and balloons into Israel as part of ongoing anti-occupation protests along the Gaza-Israel buffer zone.

According to Israeli officials, the improvised aerial “weapons” have caused a number of fires inside illegal Israeli settlements, causing significant material damage but not resulting in any deaths or injuries.

Since March of last year, more than 250 Palestinians have been killed and thousands more injured by Israeli army fire during protests demanding the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes in historical Palestine from which they were driven in 1948 to make way for the new state of Israel.

Read: UNHRC condemns Israel’s use of ‘lethal force’ against Gaza protesters

Israeli forces have recently been targeting Gaza with airstrikes, alleging that burning kites and balloons were sent from Gaza to the Israeli side.

Last week, on March 15th, the Israeli airforce carried out a staggering 100 air strikes in the Gaza Strip. Following the air strikes, Israel warned it would continue to use “uncompromising force” against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip should the UN Security Council not condemn the alleged launching of two rockets towards Tel Aviv. For its part, Hamas said that Israel is causing new crises in the Gaza Strip through its military escalation and targeting of Palestinian resistance sites and civilian facilities.

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Friday condemned Israel’s “apparent intentional use of unlawful lethal and other excessive force” against civilian protesters in the Gaza Strip during the Great March of Return.

In addition to condemning Israel, the UNHRC also called for perpetrators of violations in the besieged enclave to face justice.

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