By Associated Press - Thursday, August 20, 2020

JERUSALEM (AP) - Two rockets fired from the Gaza Strip landed near the Israeli security fence late Thursday, and Israel carried out airstrikes on targets linked to the territory’s Hamas rulers, the Israeli military said.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or major damage. The military said it struck a “concrete manufacturing site used for underground infrastructure and tunnel construction, belonging to the Hamas terror organization.”

Tensions have risen in recent days as groups affiliated with Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers have launched incendiary balloons across the frontier, igniting farmland inside Israel.

Hamas is demanding that Israel ease the blockade it imposed when the Islamic militant group seized power from rival Palestinian forces in 2007. In response to the balloons, Israel has closed Gaza’s main commercial crossing - forcing the territory’s only power plant to shut down - and barred fishermen from its waters.

Israel has also carried out airstrikes on targets linked to Hamas, which it blames for all violence emanating from the territory. Israel and Hamas have fought three wars and several smaller battles since the militants seized power.

Egyptian mediators visited Gaza earlier this week try and shore up an informal cease-fire but left without announcing any progress.

Hamas says Israel is not honoring previous understandings reached with the help of Egypt and Qatar, in which Israel should ease the blockade and allow for large-scale projects to help rescue Gaza’s collapsing economy.

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