Israel also carried out air strikes early on Wednesday, targeting what it is said were sites used by Hamas, claiming the group’s cross-border fire balloons were a justifiable provocation.

Smoke and flames are seen after an Israeli air strike in the northern Gaza City, June 17, 2021.
Smoke and flames are seen after an Israeli air strike in the northern Gaza City, June 17, 2021. (AFP)

Israeli warplanes have launched several air strikes on sites belonging to the Palestinian resistance group Hamas in the blockaded Gaza City.

Warplanes bombed a site in the town of Beit Lahia and another site in Khan Yunis.

The Palestinian Health Ministry did not announce any injuries as a result of the bombings, while there was no immediate comment from the Israeli army.

Earlier Thursday, Israel conveyed a message to Hamas that if the launching of incendiary balloons from the blockaded enclave of Gaza does not stop, there will be new military action.

Israel’s Channel 13 News outlet reported that an Israeli delegation currently in Egypt sent the message through the Egyptian intelligence service.

The delegation from the Israeli National Security Council arrived in Cairo on Thursday, where it will hold talks on a long-term truce with Hamas in Gaza.

READ MORE: Israel launches air strikes on besieged Gaza

New air strikes 

The fire balloons and air strikes are the latest violence heaping pressure on a fragile ceasefire between Israel and Hamas that came into place on May 21, ending 11 days of heavy fighting.

"Over the past day, arson balloons were launched from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory," Israel's military said in a statement.

"In response ... fighter jets struck military compounds and a rocket launch site belonging to the Hamas terror organisation."

After the first wave of fire balloons sparked blazes on Tuesday, Israel's military launched a retaliatory wave of strikes early Wednesday.

Then, as the balloons continued, the air force launched a second round of strikes overnight Thursday to Friday.

READ MORE: Palestinian teen shot by Israeli forces dies, hundreds attend funeral

Jerusalem tensions

On May 10, Israel launched airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, which lasted 11 days and resulted in the deaths and injuries of thousands of Palestinians

Tensions flared in occupied East Jerusalem during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

The Israeli police deployed heavy-handed tactics against Palestinian worshippers in and around Al Aqsa Mosque in the last week of the holy month.

Another flashpoint in recent days has been a court case that could end with Palestinian families evicted from occupied East Jerusalem homes in Sheikh Jarrah claimed by Jewish settlers. 

If the court rules for the settlers, Palestinians living in the neighbourhood would be displaced for a second time, the first when they were moved into Sheikh Jarrah as refugees by Jordan in the 1950s.

Palestinians protesting in solidarity with the residents of Sheikh Jarrah have been targeted by Israeli forces.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and annexed the entire city in 1980 – a move that has never been recognised by the international community.

READ MORE: Israelis gun down Palestinian woman in West Bank over alleged attack

Source: TRTWorld and agencies