Gaza rocket hits open area in southern Israel, no injuries
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Gaza rocket hits open area in southern Israel, no injuries

Fire claimed by Salafist group comes after defense minister says Israel has no intention of going to war with Gaza or Syria, but will not tolerate ‘provocations’

A rocket launched from the Gaza Strip into Israel seen in the sky from Southern Israel on the second day of Operation Protective Edge, July 9, 2014. (Avishag Shaar Yeshuv/Flash90)
A rocket launched from the Gaza Strip into Israel seen in the sky from Southern Israel on the second day of Operation Protective Edge, July 9, 2014. (Avishag Shaar Yeshuv/Flash90)

A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit southern Israel Monday night, not causing any damage, but breaking a tense calm amid rising tensions with the Palestinian enclave.

The Israeli military said the projectile landed in open area in the Sha’ar Hanegev region.

“No injuries have been reported. Forces are searching the area,” the army said in a statement.

The launch was claimed by a salafist group linked to the Islamic State, according to Hebrew media reports.

Gaza’s Hamas rulers said earlier this month they were not interested in a fresh round of conflict, even as electricity cuts requested by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and facilitated by Israel, threatened to lead to a new round of violence.

Abbas has led a high-stakes campaign to weaken Hamas by gradually reducing the flow of electricity to the territory he lost to the terrorist group in 2007.

Egypt has since stepped in to ship in fuel to make up for most of the power cuts, though its not clear how long the shipments will continue.

On Monday, the Haaretz daily reported that human rights groups and officials in Gaza suspect Abbas is also attempting to keep Gazans from being able to seek medical attention in Israel as a means of ramping up pressure.

Israeli security concerns have shifted in the last few days to the northern border, where fighting in neighboring Syria has bled into Israel, with fire from mortars and small arms hitting in the Golan Heights.

Israel has struck back at Syrian regime targets several times in retaliation.

Earlier Monday, Defense Minister Avidgor Liberman said Israel has “no intention of launching a military operation” against Syria or Gaza.

But Liberman added that despite the military establishment’s hope for calm on Israel’s borders, it will not tolerate any provocations, even accidental fire that spills over from a neighboring conflict.

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