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August 28, 2020 7:28 am

Israel Strikes Hamas in Gaza Over Rockets, Incendiary Balloons

avatar by Algemeiner Staff and Agencies

Smoke rises following an Israeli air strike in the Gaza Strip, Aug. 28, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Mohammed Shana.

The IDF struck Hamas facilities in the Gaza Strip on Friday after half a dozen rockets were fired toward southern Israel, as mediators struggled to work for calm along the volatile border.

There were no reports of casualties on either side. The United Nations’ Middle East envoy urged a halt the violence.

Israel‘s military said it struck underground infrastructure and a military post belonging to Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas overnight in response to incendiary balloons launched from the coastal enclave that have burned Israeli farmland.

Six rockets were then fired toward Israel, drawing a second round of Israeli strikes which hit a Hamas armed training camp.

An Israeli military spokesman said he did not have any information on where the Gaza rockets landed, but that none of them were intercepted by its Iron Dome system.

Hamas has been trying to pressure Israel to ease its blockade of Gaza and allow more investment, in part by letting Palestinians launch dozens of helium balloons carrying incendiary material towards southern Israel in recent weeks.

With tension high, Israel has closed its only commercial crossing with Gaza, banned sea access and halted fuel imports into the Mediterranean coastal strip, leading to its only power plant shutting down last week.

Mediators from the United Nations, Egypt and Qatar have been working to restore calm. Qatari envoy Mohammad Al-Emadi has been in Gaza since Tuesday holding talks with Hamas leaders.

Israel has struck Hamas facilities almost nightly for the past two weeks, saying it would not tolerate the balloons.

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