Three rockets fired at Israel from Gaza as border region heats up

2 projectiles apparently land in open fields in southern Israel, third missile intercepted following launch an hour later, days after Hamas vows to oppose annexation

Illustrative: Rockets are launched by Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip toward Israel, February 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
Illustrative: Rockets are launched by Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip toward Israel, February 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

Three rockets were fired from the northern Gaza Strip into Israel Sunday evening, as tensions along the border region appeared to flare amid Israeli plans to annex parts of the West Bank.

Two rockets apparently struck an open field at around 7 p.m., the Israel Defense Forces said, without causing injuries or damage.

About an hour later, rockets sirens again rang out in the southern Israeli Sha’ar Hanegev as another rocket was launched out of the Strip. The rocket was intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile system, according to the army.

IDF Spokesperson Hidai Zilberman said the top brass of the Southern Command would hold a “situational assessment” regarding the attacks to determine how to proceed.

“We will not accept rocket fire at the south. A situational assessment will be held in the coming hours,” Zilberman told reporters.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks. The IDF spokesman said the military did not yet know who fired them.

The normally restive Gaza border region has seen months of calm since a flare-up of violence in February, amid reported intensive efforts to reach a long-term truce deal between Israel and Hamas.

But tensions have risen in recent days, with Gazan terror groups vowing to oppose Israeli plans to annex parts of the West Bank under the Trump administration’s peace plan rejected by the Palestinians.

Late last month, Gaza’s Hamas rulers warned that in the event that Israel goes ahead with applying its sovereignty over settlements and the Jordan Valley as provided for in the US peace plan, it would amount to a “declaration of war” against Palestinians.

A day later, on June 27, Palestinians in Gaza fired two rockets at Israel. The rockets fell in open areas and did not cause casualties or damage. One rocket landed in an open area in the Sha’ar Hanegev region, while the second apparently fell within the Strip.

Israel retaliated with strikes on Hamas sites, saying it held the terror group responsible for attacks from Gaza.

On Wednesday, sources in Hamas claimed the Gaza-based terror group had fired a volley of rockets into the sea as a warning to Israel not to annex parts of the West Bank.

However, the IDF said it was unaware of any such launch, and there was no additional confirmation.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s center-right coalition government had set July 1 as the date from which it could begin implementing US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace proposal, annexing territory. But there was no announcement last Wednesday or any day since.

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