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  • Palestinians inspect a destroyed Hamas site after it was targeted by an Israeli air strike in Gaza City March 26, 2019.

    Palestinians inspect a destroyed Hamas site after it was targeted by an Israeli air strike in Gaza City March 26, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 13 June 2019

The latest hostilities followed Israel’s closure of offshore waters to Gaza fisherman on Wednesday in what it said was a response to incendiary balloons launched across the frontier that caused fires in fields in southern Israel this week.

The Israeli Air Force carried out their first airstrikes over the Gaza Strip this month, claiming they were targeting a Hamas post.

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According to an Israeli military statement, their air force was launching a retaliatory attack in response to a rocket allegedly fired by Hamas on Wednesday.In a statement, the Israeli military said fighter planes attacked “underground infrastructure” in a compound belonging to Hamas. There were no reports of injuries.

In two days of heavy fighting in early May, Israeli strikes killed 21 Palestinians, over half of them civilians, according to Gaza health authorities.

A truce mediated by Egypt, Qatar and the United Nations ended that round of violence.

Some two million Palestinians live in Gaza, whose economy has suffered years of Israeli and Egyptian blockades as well as recent foreign aid cuts and sanctions by the Palestinian Authority, Hamas’s rival in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Israel says its blockade is necessary to stop arms reaching Hamas, with which it has fought three wars since the group seized control of Gaza in 2007, two years after Israel withdrew its settlers and troops from the small coastal enclave.

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