Israeli airstrikes target Gaza sites, first since cease-fire
Israeli aircraft carried out a series of airstrikes at militant sites in the Gaza Strip early Wednesday, the first such raids since a shaky cease-fire ended the war with Hamas last month.
The airstrikes targeted facilities used by Hamas militants for meetings to plan attacks, the Israeli military said, blaming the group for any act of violence emanating from Gaza. There were no immediate reports of casualties.
On Tuesday, hundreds of Israeli ultranationalists, some chanting “Death to Arabs,” paraded in east Jerusalem in a show of force that threatened to spark renewed violence. Palestinians in Gaza responded by launching incendiary balloons that caused at least 10 fires in southern Israel.
The march posed a test for Israel’s fragile new government as well as the tenuous truce that ended last month’s 11-day war between Israel and Hamas.
Palestinians consider the march, meant to celebrate Israel’s capture of east Jerusalem in 1967, to be a provocation. Hamas called on Palestinians to “resist” the parade, a version of which helped ignite last month’s 11-day Gaza war. With music blaring, hundreds of Jewish nationalists gathered and moved in front of Damascus Gate. Most appeared to be young men, and many held blue-and-white Israeli flags as they danced and sang religious songs.
At one point, several dozen youths, jumping and waving their hands in their air, chanted: “Death to Arabs!” In another anti-Arab chant, they yelled: “May your village burn.”
Mansour Abbas, whose Raam party is the first Arab faction to join an Israeli coalition, said the march was “an attempt to set the region on fire for political aims,” with the intention of undermining the new government.