JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel’s military said on Saturday that its aircraft launched retaliatory air strikes in the Gaza Strip and that its troops in the occupied West Bank shot a suspected Palestinian assailant, whom Palestinian officials said had been killed.
An Israeli military spokesperson said that soldiers had been trying to disperse confrontations that erupted between Israeli settlers and Palestinians from a nearby village in the West Bank. The troops then saw a man throw an explosive device at them from a rooftop and “responded with fire against the suspect in order to eliminate the danger,” the spokesperson said.
The Palestinian liaison office confirmed that the 20-year-old man was killed.
In Gaza, Israeli jets struck a weapon manufacturing facility and a rocket launcher in response to incendiary balloons sent from the Palestinian enclave into Israel on Saturday, the military said. Sources in Hamas, the Islamist militant group that controls Gaza, confirmed that the two sites hit belonged to the group. One man was critically wounded, medics said.
Since a May 21 ceasefire ended 11 days of fierce Israel-Hamas fighting, Palestinians in Gaza have sporadically launched balloons laden with incendiary material across the border, causing fires that have burned fields in Israel.
Egypt and the United Nations have stepped up mediation efforts over the Israeli strikes and Gaza balloon launches, though the incidents have not led to a broader escalation.
At least 250 Palestinians and 13 in Israel were killed in the May fighting, which saw Gaza militants fire rockets towards Israeli cities and Israel carry out air strikes across the coastal enclave.
(Reporting by Maayan Lubell in Jerusalem, Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza and Ali Sawafta in Ramallah; editing by Diane Craft)