Israeli aircraft struck sites belonging to the Gaza Strip’s ruling Hamas movement early Wednesday for the first time since an 11-day conflict last month, after incendiary balloons launched from the Palestinian territory set multiple fires in southern Israel.
The violence marred the fragile truce that ended the fighting in May, and is posing an early test to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who took power in Israel just three days ago. As was the case last month, the hostilities were set off by sovereignty disputes over the holy city of Jerusalem. And while there were no casualties or attacks on symbols of power, people on both sides were bracing for the possibility of a broader new confrontation.
Militant balloon squads touched off more than two dozen fires ahead of a march Tuesday by Jewish nationalists through Palestinian neighborhoods in contested east Jerusalem. Palestinians consider the annual parade a provocative assertion of Israeli control over territory they seek for a future capital.