Israel launches airstrikes in Gaza for first time since ceasefire

16 June 2021, 01:06 | Updated: 16 June 2021, 05:35

The airstrikes are the first flare up of tensions since the ceasefire in May ended 11 days of violence
The airstrikes are the first flare up of tensions since the ceasefire in May ended 11 days of violence. Picture: PA

By Daisy Stephens

Israel says it has launched airstrikes against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

The Israeli military said the strikes were in response to incendiary balloons launched from the territory.

In a statement, the Israel Defence Forces said they were “prepared for all scenarios”, which included the “resumption of hostilities” in the area.

The airstrike was the first launched on Gaza since a ceasefire was agreed on 20 May.

The truce ended 11 days of violence that left more than 200 people dead and thousands wounded.

At the time, a Hamas official said the ceasefire was a defeat for Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has since been ousted after 12 years in power.

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Last month’s violence started when Hamas militants launched rockets at Jerusalem following clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli Police at the sacred Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Police tactics and opposition to a potential eviction of dozens of Palestinian families by Jewish settlers led to growing anger.

In response to repeated rocket attacks, Israel launched hundreds of airstrikes into Gaza, saying it targeted Hamas' infrastructure.