Hamas-backed activists launched night-time protests along the Israeli border. (EPA)

Israel strikes Hamas after border protests

Israeli planes have struck Hamas militant targets in the Gaza Strip, hours after violent clashes between Palestinian protesters and troops along the border.

The Israeli military said in planes bombed a Hamas militant facility in the Gaza Strip early on Sunday in response to the launching of incendiary balloons into southern Israel and violent protests staged for a second week.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett spoke to reporters in Washington before he boarded a flight to Israel, wrapping up a state visit that culminated with a face-to-face meeting with President Joe Biden.

It was the first since Bennett took office in June.

“We will operate in Gaza according to our interests,” he said.

Bennett said he “achieved all the objectives for the trip” to Washington, including strategic co-operation in preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

On Saturday, hundreds of Hamas-backed activists staged a night-time protest along the Israeli border, throwing explosives toward Israeli forces who responded with live fire.

Gaza health officials said three people were injured by Israeli fire. Additional protests were planned through the week.

Organisers said the protests were meant to increase pressure on Israel to lift its blockade of the Palestinian territory.

Israel and Egypt have maintained the blockade since Hamas, a group sworn to Israel’s destruction, seized control of Gaza in a 2007 coup after winning Palestinian elections.

Read the article in The West Australian.