IDF strikes Hamas posts in response to explosive balloons and sniper fire

Several Palestinians have been injured in clashes with IDF forces while demonstrating against Trump's deal.

Palestinians protest against the Deal of the Century Middle East peace plan in Bethlehem, Jan. 29, 2020 (photo credit: MUSSA ISSA QAWASMA/REUTERS)
Palestinians protest against the Deal of the Century Middle East peace plan in Bethlehem, Jan. 29, 2020
The Israeli military struck several Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip on Thursday in response to the launches of multiple explosive balloons towards southern Israel and sniper fire against an IDF observation post earlier in the day.
It was the second day in a row of violence following the release of US President Donald Trump’s “Deal of the Century” peace plan.
According to Palestinian WAFA news agency reported that an Israeli drone launched two missiles in the neighborhood of Nahda in Rafiah in the southern Gaza Strip as well as near the Gaza International Airport as well as near the Kerem Shalom crossing.
No Palestinian was reported to have been injured.
Multiple explosive balloons were spotted throughout southern Israel, including in the city of Dimona, located over 70km from the Gaza Strip, as well as Kiryat Gat. At least two explosive balloons exploded in the air near a town in the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council as well as in the college town of Sderot earlier in the day.
Incendiary balloons, similar to those launched from the Gaza Strip, were launched from the Jerusalem neighborhood of Isawiya for the first time on Wednesday, according to Palestinian media.
Police sappers dismantled all the explosive objects with no injuries or damage.
On Thursday afternoon  incoming rocket sirens were heard in the community of Yad Mordechai in southern Israel, but the IDF later announced that the sirens were not triggered by rocket fire. It is believed to have been anti-aircraft fire towards Israeli aircraft.
On Wednesday a suspicious object wrapped in gift wrap tied to several balloons landed in Sdot HaNegev Regional Council near the Gaza Strip.
On Saturday morning, several balloons with an explosive device resembling a rocket-propelled grenade attached to them landed outside Sde Boker in the Negev Desert. Sde Boker is also about 70 km. from the Gaza Strip.
The Israeli Air Force attacked multiple sites belonging to the Hamas terrorist group in the Gaza Strip on Saturday night, in response to dozens of incendiary and explosive balloons that have been launched from the Hamas-controlled coastal enclave in the past two weeks, according to an IDF spokesperson.
"The IDF views with great severity all destructive activities of all types towards Israeli territory and will continue to act as necessary against attempts to harm [Israeli] citizens," the military said, adding that Hamas is responsible for all actions in and from Gaza and will suffer the consequences for acts of terrorism against Israeli citizens.
A senior Hamas official said last week that the recent spate of explosive balloons that are being launched from the Strip was a signal to Israel to accelerate the unofficial agreement between the two sides.
A 15 year-old Palestinian was severely wounded in the head during clashes in the town of Kafr Qaddum and several Palestinians were reported by the Palestinian Red Crescent to have been injured in clashes with IDF forces throughout the West Bank on Thursday in response to Trump’s “Deal of the Century, including in Ramallah, al-Bireh, Jericho, Qalqilya and Nablus.
Israeli soldiers were also reported by Palestinian media of having fired live rounds and tear gas to disperse protests by students near Khan Younis in southern Gaza.
According to Palestinian media, several other Palestinians were injured in Jerusalem on Wednesday in clashes with Israeli troops who fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse the protests.
WAFA reported that at least 30 Palestinians have been arrested by Israeli troops since Wednesday during protests against Trump’s plan.