Emergency sirens sounded in several cities in southern Israel Thursday and citizens reported hearing explosions after rockets were launched at the region from the Gaza Strip.
One rocket was thought to have landed in open territory near the city of Sderot or the Sha’ar Hanegev region, while another was intercepted by the IDF’s Iron Dome missile defense system near the city of Ashkelon.
No casualties or damage were reported.
Fourteen rockets have been launched from the Gaza Strip since Israeli forces embarked on a massive campaign to locate Eyal Yifrach, 19, Naftali Frankel, 16, and Gil-ad Shaar, 16, who were kidnapped in the West Bank last Thursday. Israeli leaders have held Hamas responsible for the abduction.
On Wednesday night the IAF launched a series of airstrikes in the Gaza Strip, hitting several Hamas positions in the Palestinian enclave.
An “IAF aircraft targeted a terror activity site, a terror infrastructure site and a concealed rocket launcher in the northern Gaza Strip and two terror activity sites in the central Gaza Strip,” the IDF said in a statement. Three people were injured in the incident, according to Palestinian medical sources.
Direct hits were confirmed in the strikes which came in response to a rocket attack earlier Wednesday that struck a home in a kibbutz in the Sha’ar HaNegev region outside Gaza. The projectile caused some damage, but no injuries were reported. A second projectile also launched out of Gaza landed in an open area in the same region.
Overnight Monday, Israeli aircraft struck four “terror activity” sites in the Gaza Strip following rocket fire into Israel in the evening hours, the IDF spokesperson’s office said. The IDF reported direct hits including on “a weapon manufacturing facility in the northern Gaza Strip and two weapon storage facilities in the central and southern Gaza Strip.”
The strikes came after a rocket landed in an open field near Ashkelon Monday evening.
Early Monday, the IDF struck several sites in Gaza, according to a statement released by the IDF spokesperson’s office. The IDF said those strikes were a response to a rocket attack from Gaza on Sunday evening. Direct hits were confirmed, according to the statement. .
On Sunday, Israeli forces positioned an Iron Dome anti-missile battery outside the southern coastal city of Ashdod, in response to an escalation in rocket fire from Gaza over the weekend. The move came hours after Israeli planes pounded several sites in the Gaza Strip, in retaliation for rockets fired earlier in the day.
Ashdod, a city of some 200,000, sits several kilometers from the Gaza Strip and has been targeted with rockets in the past.