Tensions Flare in Jerusalem, Gaza
Israel on Wednesday conducted limited airstrikes against Hamas military targets in Gaza, retaliating for incendiary balloons launched earlier by the Palestinians toward Israeli towns and fields. At least 20 fires broke out on the Israeli side of the border as a result of the explosive balloons. No casualties were reported in the air raids. Hamas, which is designated a terror group by Jerusalem, claimed the attacks were in response to the Flag March held earlier Tuesday in the Old City of Jerusalem. Under heavy police presence and despite concerns of reigniting Arab-Jewish tensions, thousands of far-right and ultra-religious Jewish demonstrators staged the annual event celebrating Israel’s conquest of Jerusalem in the 1967 war. The march was postponed during last months’ mini-war in Gaza. The controversial event, decried by Arab residents of the capital as a provocation, was initially intended to pass through the extremely volatile Damascus Gate area and the Muslim Quarter but was rerouted by police and eventually concluded with limited friction.