The Israeli army on Monday said it retaliated against unrest at the border with the Gaza Strip, firing at Hamas facilities in response to incendiary balloon attacks on Sunday.

The Israeli Defence Force (IDF), said military posts and underground infrastructure in Gaza belonging to Hamas were hit in retaliation.

According to Palestinian security circles and eyewitness reports, two observations posts in the Eastern parts of the cities of Rafah and Khan Younis were hit, causing material damage but no casualties.

After a coronavirus-related lull, Palestinians stepped up cross-border attacks from Gaza, including what Israel described as balloon terrorism, setting ablaze agricultural fields in Southern Israel with incendiary balloons.

However, observers believed the attacks could be a means to exert pressure on Israel to allow payments from Qatar to Gaza, as well as on Qatar to continue financially supporting the coastal enclave.

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Israel suspended fuel shipments and closed its border crossings with the Gaza Strip in response to the attacks, resulting in the only power plant in the Gaza Strip being shut down for lack of fuel.

It also restricted the fishery zone on Gaza’s coast.

The Hamas movement that rules the Gaza Strip is considered a terrorist organisation by Israel, the U.S. and the EU.

Israel captured Gaza from Egypt in the 1967 Six-Day War, but unilaterally pulled out its army and evacuated its settlements in the Strip in 2005.

Israel, however, continues to control Gaza’s borders, along with Egypt. Israel frequently closes crossings in response to rocket fire and violence along the border.(dpa/NAN)