Israeli aircraft strike Hamas sites in Gaza

Aug 22, 2021: Israeli warplanes targeted Hamas positions in Gaza after an escalation in tensions following cross border firing, the military said, adding that an Israeli soldier was seriously wounded and 41 Palestinians were wounded in the initial firing, including two severely wounded.

The injuries came during protests in Gaza organized by the enclave’s ruling Hamas and other groups in support of Jerusalem, where clashes with Palestinian Israeli police sparked an 11-day conflict between Israel and Hamas in May. The Israeli military said hundreds of Palestinians gathered near the stronghold of the strip, where some tried to extend the border fence and others threw explosives at Israeli troops.

The Gaza Ministry of Health said the two Palestinians seriously injured included a 13-year-old boy who had been shot in the head. He described other injuries as mostly “moderate”, including gunshot wounds to the limbs, back and abdomen.

The army said a cross-border firing from Gaza seriously injured an Israeli border policeman, who is being treated in hospital. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack. The military says Israeli fighter jets targeted four Hamas weapons depots and manufacturing sites in response to the soldier’s firing. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Fighting further fighting, the military said it had sent additional troops to the Gaza border area. Israeli media have reported that the army has increased the deployment of its Iron Dome anti-missile system.

The violence follows Israel’s announcement of the resumption of Qatari aid to Gaza, which is being seen as strengthening a fragile Egyptian-brokered ceasefire for the May war. A few days before the announcement, Gaza militants fired a rocket at Israel, which was shot down by the Iron Dome, in the first such attack since the ceasefire.

Palestinians have also fired balloons at Israel since the fighting and launched Israeli attacks on Hamas positions.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said Saturday’s airstrikes showed that Israel was trying to hide its failure and frustration with the steadfastness and bravery of Palestinian people.

The May conflict killed at least 250 Palestinians and 13 people in Israel, with Gaza militants firing rockets at Israeli cities and Israel launching airstrikes on coastal areas.

Israel has placed Gaza under a blockade and severely restricted movement from the area, home to two million Palestinians. Egypt has also maintained sanctions on the enclave. Both cite Hamas as a threat to justify sanctions.

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