Gaza rocket strikes near homes in Sderot; no injuries
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Gaza rocket strikes near homes in Sderot; no injuries

Projectile hits between two homes near train station and college in Israeli border town, causes no damage; Israel strikes back at two Hamas targets in northern Strip

An Israeli police sapper carries part of a rocket which landed in a yard of a house in the city of Sderot, southern Israel, Sunday, August 21, 2016. (AP/Tsafrir Abayov)
An Israeli police sapper carries part of a rocket which landed in a yard of a house in the city of Sderot, southern Israel, Sunday, August 21, 2016. (AP/Tsafrir Abayov)

Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip launched a rocket into Israel on Sunday afternoon, setting off warning sirens in the western Negev.

The projectile exploded inside the territory of the border town of Sderot, causing no casualties or damage.

The rocket landed between two homes, near a college and the local train station. Locals said it was “a miracle” that nobody was injured.

In response to the attack, the Israel Defense Forces attacked two sites of Hamas “terrorist infrastructure” in Beit Hanoun, in the northern Gaza Strip.

An Israel Air Force plane was used to strike the first target, while an IDF tank was used to attack the second, the army said.

Palestinian health and security sources said two people were lightly wounded by the Israeli fire, AFP reported.

“One of them is a 20-year-old (young man) who was hit by shrapnel in the face,” said Ashraf al-Qudra, spokesman for the Palestinian health ministry in Hamas-controlled Gaza.

This was the first time air raid alerts sounded across the area bordering the Gaza Strip in several weeks.

The rocket struck on Hanehalim Street, near the Sderot Train Station and Sapir College, according to police.

Sappers were called to the scene in order to handle the projectile, police said.

A spokesperson for local law enforcement called for the public to stay away from the area in order to allow “police bomb disposal experts to maintain full safety at the scene.”

Police officers inspect a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip that landed in the town of Sderot in southern Israel on August 21, 2016. (Israel Police)
Police officers inspect a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip that landed in the town of Sderot in southern Israel on August 21, 2016. (Israel Police)

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) initially insinuated that it had carried out the rocket launch, telling local media: “Our people have the right to practice all forms of resistance in response to the crimes and hubris of the occupation.”

However, Ahfad al-Sahaba-Aknaf Bayt al-Maqdis, a Salafist group with ties to the Islamic State, later took full responsibility for the rocket attack in a statement.

Launches from Gaza are infrequent and usually carried out by small fringe groups without the approval of Gaza’s Hamas rulers.

The last rocket to hit Israel from Gaza hit an empty preschool in Sderot on July 1.

Israel has said it holds Hamas responsible for any attacks emanating from Gaza and routinely responds to such launches with strikes inside the Palestinian territory.

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