Israel hits Hamas compound after arson balloon launch

Hamas launch an attack with balloons carrying firebombs and explosives toward Israel. (Reuters pic)

GAZA CITY: Israel said Thursday its aircraft struck a Hamas military compound in the Gaza Strip overnight after balloons carrying firebombs and explosives were launched from the Palestinian enclave.

Following the air strike, the Israeli military said two rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip toward Israel, setting off sirens in parts of the south.

It was not clear where the rockets landed or if there was damage.

The air strike hit targets within a compound for Hamas’s armed wing in the northern Gaza Strip, the army and a Gaza security source said.

The security source said there was damage but no indication of casualties.

It was unclear if the firebombs and explosives that prompted the strike caused any damage inside Israel.

Palestinians in Gaza have frequently floated balloons fitted with firebombs over the border to damage Israeli property and have in the past succeeded in setting fire to large areas of farmland.

An ceasefire between Israel and Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas brokered by Egypt and the United Nations had led to relative calm around Israel’s April 9 general election.

But on Tuesday, Israel reduced the offshore fishing limit it imposes for vessels operating out of Gaza after a rocket was fired from the territory by Palestinian militants.

The rocket fell into the Mediterranean. The Israeli army blamed its launch on Hamas ally Islamic Jihad.

Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza have fought three wars since 2008.