Gaza Palestinians fire rocket at Eshkol region
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Gaza Palestinians fire rocket at Eshkol region

No casualties or damage in third attack since summer’s conflict; local official says clock ‘ticking down to the next war’

A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip lands in an open area in the Eshkol region, December 19, 2014. (photo credit: Israel Police)
A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip lands in an open area in the Eshkol region, December 19, 2014. (photo credit: Israel Police)

Palestinians in Gaza fired a Kassam rocket at an Israeli community in the Eshkol region near the Gaza Strip on Friday morning.

The rocket fell in an open area, causing neither casualties nor damage.

It was the third time that Gaza terrorists have fired rockets at Israel since the conclusion of Operation Protective Edge, last summer’s war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

IDF soldiers swept the area and found the remains of the rocket.

Initial reports had indicated it was a false alarm.

It was the first alarm in the area since November 7, when residents heard the siren followed by explosions.

At the time, the Israel Defense Forces said that Gaza terror groups were testing their rockets and that the missile had fallen short of the border.

Eshkol Regional Council head Haim Yalin faulted the government for failing to seek a comprehensive accord in the wake of Protective Edge.

“Anyone who thinks that IDF deterrence is a solution that will provide quiet for the Gaza border region fails to grasp that the outcomes of wars are decided by statesmen, who bravely bring about quiet and security,” read a statement from Yelin, who this week announced that he would run for a Knesset seat with the centrist Yesh Atid party.

“After Protective Edge, the country had a remarkable opportunity to bring about a long-term agreement,” he added. “But instead we find ourselves with a clock ticking down to the next escalation and the next war.”

Israel launched Operation Protective Edge on July 8 with the stated intention of stopping Hamas and other groups’ rocket fire on Israeli cities.

More than 4,500 rockets and other projectiles were fired into Israel during the 50-day conflict.

Israel lost 66 soldiers and seven civilians in the month-long war, while the Palestinian death toll surpassed 2,100, according to Hamas officials in Gaza. Israel said half of the Gaza dead were gunmen and blamed Hamas for all civilian deaths because it operated against Israel from residential areas, placing Gazans in harm’s way.

A Palestinian worker in Gaza being lowered into a smuggling tunnel in September 2013 (photo credit: Wissam Nassar/Flash90)
A Palestinian worker in Gaza being lowered into a smuggling tunnel in September 2013 (photo credit: Wissam Nassar/Flash90)

Israeli media reported Friday that Hamas has begun restocking its depleted rocket arsenal. Some rockets are imported through smuggling tunnels from Egypt and others are manufactured in the Strip. Many of the smuggling tunnels — one of Hamas’s main sources of revenue — were still open for business, despite massive efforts by Egypt to crack down on them, reports by Israel Radio and Ynet said.

According to the reports, Hamas has acknowledged the limited efficacy of its mid- and longer-range rockets, many of which were shot down by Israel’s Iron Dome defense system during the war, inflicting very limited civilian casualties. Meanwhile, Hamas has recognized the deadliness of mortar shells, which fall short of Iron Dome’s range.

One new approach that Hamas has been considering in an effort to extend its effective range is to launch large volleys of rockets that would challenge Iron Dome’s ability to fire interceptors in rapid succession, the reports said. It has also been conducting tests, lobbing dozens of rockets into the Mediterranean Sea in recent weeks, according to Ynet, which cited Palestinian Gaza sources in its report.

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