The Israeli military said its aircraft attacked Hamas armed compounds in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday in response to 20 fires sparked by incendiary balloons launched earlier in the day from the territory into southern Israel.
At least one explosive balloon was reported over southern Israel, with residents reporting that they saw and heard the balloon explode in the air, according to Israeli media.
In a statement, the military said that it was "ready for all scenarios, including renewed fighting in the face of continued terrorist acts emanating from Gaza".
Israel's new prime minister, Naftali Bennett, had said in the past that the Israeli government should not tolerate incendiary balloons, and must retaliate as if Hamas had fired rockets into Israel.
The escalation came after an Israeli nationalist march, as part of "Jerusalem Day" in East Jerusalem that angered Palestinians.
Crowds waving blue and white Israeli flags set off from Damascus Gate, the main entry to the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem's Old City, dancing and chanting "This is our home" and "Jerusalem is ours."
Iron Dome anti-missile defense units were also reinforced ahead of the march, amid threats by Hamas in recent days and weeks.
On Tuesday evening, Defense Minister Benny Gantz held a situation assessment with IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi, Shin Bet head Nadav Argaman, IDF Intelligence Directorate head Maj.-Gen. Tamir Heiman, IDF intelligence analysis chief Brig.-Gen. Amit Saar and Defense Ministry Policy and Political-Military Bureau head Zohar Palti.
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