The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) launched airstrikes on suspected Hamas positions in the Gaza Strip on Monday, April 9, targeting an Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades base in Jabaliya, as well as an agricultural area near Beit Lahiya. The attacks were reportedly ordered in retaliation for Palestinians crossing the Israel-Gaza border and planting explosive devices along the security barrier. Additional IDF reprisals are possible in the Gaza Strip in the coming days and weeks, as Palestinians continue the six-week tent city protest campaign - started on March 30 - through May 15.
The airstrikes come amid large-scale Palestinian demonstrations in the Gaza Strip, in which dozens of Palestinians have been killed and thousands of others wounded in clashes with Israel Defense Force (IDF) personnel since the six-week tent city protests began on March 30. Smaller related protests have taken place in the West Bank.
In general, the exchange of fire between Israel and the Gaza Strip has intensified since early December 2017. The IDF has retaliated against bomb blasts and the starting of fires in Gaza with tank fire and airstrikes in recent weeks. Several rockets and mortars have also been fired from the Gaza Strip, followed by retaliatory Israeli airstrikes. Although the rockets are often launched by independent groups, the Israeli government holds Hamas responsible and regularly hits Hamas positions in retaliation.
Individuals present in Israel and the Palestinian Territories are advised to avoid all protests or other public gatherings due to the risk of violence and to monitor developments to the situation. Due to the underlying terrorist threat, travelers in Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip are advised to report any suspicious objects or behavior to the authorities and to remain vigilant when visiting sites deemed particularly likely to be targeted in an attack (public transportation, train stations, ports, airports, public or government buildings, embassies or consulates, international organizations, schools and universities, religious sites, markets, prominent hotels and restaurants, etc.). As a reminder, several Western governments advise their citizens against all travel to the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and areas near the Israeli-Lebanese, Israeli-Syrian, and Israeli-Egyptian borders.