Israel hits Gaza militant sites after incendiary balloons

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) —

Israeli aircraft and tanks hit several militant sites in the Gaza Strip late Friday, responding to explosive-laden incendiary balloons launched across the frontier into Israeli territory.

Palestinian medics said a woman and a 3-year-old girl were slightly injured by shrapnel during airstrikes in the northern and central Gaza Strip.

In a statement, the Israeli military said the targeted sites belonged to Hamas, the militant group that has ruled Gaza since 2007. They included “underground infrastructure and observation posts,” it said.

Israel blames Hamas, with whom it has fought three wars and dozens of smaller skirmishes, for all violence emanating from the Palestinian enclave.

Over the past week, Hamas ordered young Gaza activists to resume sending the incendiary balloons toward Israel, citing Israel’s refusal to ease its blockade of the territory. The balloons have started dozens of fires that damaged tracts of Israeli farmland.

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