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Flames are seen after an Israeli air strike hit Hamas targets in Gaza City, Gaza. Photo: Jadallah/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Israel's military said it carried out airstrikes in the Gaza Strip early Wednesday after incendiary balloons were launched from the Palestinian territory.

Why it matters: It's the first major flare-up since last month's fragile ceasefire ended 11 days of flighting between Israel and Hamas. It also comes just days after Israel's new coalition government led by Naftali Bennett took power.

What they're saying: The Israeli military said it attacked Hamas armed compounds in Gaza City and the southern Gaza town of Khan Younis.

  • It added that Israel was "ready for all scenarios, including renewed fighting in the face of continued terrorist acts emanating from Gaza."

A Hamas spokesperson, speaking to Reuters, confirmed the airstrikes, adding that Palestinians would continue their "brave resistance and defend their rights and sacred sites" in Jerusalem.

  • There were no immediate reports of casualties.

The big picture: The airstrikes came hours after hundreds of Israeli ultra-nationalists — some chanting "Death to Arabs" — marched to mark Israel’s capture of East Jerusalem in 1967, per AP.

  • The march, considered a "provocation" by many Palestinians, was canceled by organizers last month after the Israeli government rerouted it due to rising tensions in Jerusalem.
  • "Though there were concerns [Tuesday's] march would raise tensions, canceling it would have opened Bennett and other right-wing members of the coalition to intense criticism from those who would view it as a capitulation to Hamas," AP noted.
  • Palestinian groups had called for a "day of rage" against the march.
  • Foreign Minister Yair Lapid condemned those shouting racist chants, tweeting they were “a disgrace to the Israeli people" and the "fact that there are radicals for whom the Israeli flag represents hatred and racism is abominable and unforgivable," per AP.

Go deeper

Updated Jun 13, 2021 - World

Netanyahu is out as new Israeli government survives confidence vote

Photo: Gil Cohen-Magen/AFP via Getty Images

Israel has a new prime minister for the first time since 2009 after a power-sharing government led by Naftali Bennett survived a confidence vote on Sunday. Bennett was sworn in as prime minister.

Why it matters: Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's longest-serving prime minister and the man around whom Israeli politics have revolved for a decade, will now become opposition leader. Bennett, a right-wing former Netanyahu protege, will lead the most ideologically diverse government in Israeli history.

Jun 14, 2021 - World

New Israeli foreign minister stresses need to repair ties with Democrats

Yair Lapid. Photo: Amir Levy/Getty Images

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said in a ceremony on his first day in office on Monday that the new government must repair Israel's relationship with the Democratic Party, which he said had badly deteriorated during Benjamin Netanyahu’s tenure as prime minister.

What he's saying: "The previous government took a bad and lightheaded bet to focus only on the Republican Party and abandon Israel’s bipartisan status in America," said Lapid, who is also the alternate prime minister and heads the biggest faction in the new coalition. He called Netanyahu's behavior toward the democrats "disgraceful and dangerous."

House Republicans move to censure the Squad over Israel comments

Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Rashida Tlaib. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Three House Republicans introduced a resolution Monday to condemn and censure members of the Squad over comments on Israel, accusing the progressive cohort of "defending foreign terrorist organizations" and "inciting anti-Semitic attacks" across the U.S.

The state of play: It comes a week after Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) tweeted about "unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban," in reference to potential investigations by the International Criminal Court.