Anadolu

Israeli jets have struck nine targets belonging to Hamas, the group that controls the Gaza Strip, in response to incendiary kites and balloons Palestinians sent across the border, the military said.

The strikes, which came early on Monday, were accompanied by sirens sounding in Israeli areas near the Gaza Strip at daybreak.

It was not immediately clear what was struck or whether there were casualties.

In recent weeks, Palestinians have been attaching oil-soaked rags to kites and flying them over the Gaza border fence to start fires in Israeli territory.

So far, no Israelis have been hurt by the fires, but they have caused $2.5m in damage to farmland, according to Israel’s government.

Israel had been using drones to intercept the kites, but Palestinians have had some success in bringing down the drones.

The Israeli military has fired warning shots from the air and destroyed property belonging to the kite launchers. Some Israeli ministers have called for those launchers to be targeted directly.

At least 125 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli troops during mass demonstrations along the Gaza border since March 30. The protests have called for the right of return for refugees to their lands their families fled or were driven from during Israel’s founding 70 years ago.

Israel’s deadly tactics in confronting the weekly Friday protests have drawn international condemnation.

Around two million people live in Gaza, most of them the stateless descendants of refugees from what is now Israel. The territory has been controlled by Hamas for more than a decade, during which it has fought three wars against Israel.

Israel and Egypt maintain a blockade of the strip, citing security reasons, which has caused an economic crisis and collapse in living standards there over the past decade.

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