2 rockets fired at southern Israel from Gaza as Palestinians mark ‘Day of Rage’

Military says Iron Dome intercepted an incoming projectile, second seems to have landed in open field; woman hurt in fall while running to bomb shelter

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's religions and Diaspora affairs correspondent.

Terrorists fired two rockets at southern Israel on Tuesday night, as Palestinians marked a “day of rage” in response to a recent decision by the United States supporting Israeli settlements, the army said.

One of the projectiles was shot down by soldiers operating the Iron Dome missile defense system. The second appeared to strike an open field in the Sha’ar Hanegev region of southern Israel.

No injuries or damage was caused by the rockets, though one woman was lightly injured when she fell while running to a bomb shelter.

The rockets triggered alert sirens in the southern town of Sderot and surrounding communities.

“Searches are currently being conducted to find impact sites,” a spokesperson for the Sha’ar Hanegev region said.

The attack from Gaza came after a day of protests by thousands of Palestinians in the West Bank, in response to a recent US announcement that it no longer believes that Israeli settlements in the West Bank violate international law.

At Israeli checkpoints near Ramallah, Bethlehem and Hebron, dozens of protesters threw stones at Israeli forces who responded with tear gas.

Palestinian protesters burn cardboard cutouts of US President Donald Trump, US State Secretary Mike Pompeo, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during a demonstration in the center of Nablus city in the West Bank, on November 26, 2019. (Jaafar ASHTIYEH / AFP)

Dozens of protesters were lightly hurt, according to Palestinian rescue services.

Tuesday night’s rocket attack also came a day after Palestinian terrorists in the Strip fired a mortar shell at southern Israel, apparently striking an open field in the Eshkol region, Israeli authorities said.

The attacks followed several days of relative calm on the Gaza front following a flare-up between Israel and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group earlier this month.

The renewed fire came as a Qatari official said Monday aid money would be handed out on Wednesday to Gaza residents, as part of an unofficial ceasefire agreement between Israel and terror groups in the Strip.

Qatari envoy Mohammed al-Emadi said 70,000 poor families will each receive $100 from postal banks in the Strip. In the past year, these banks have distributed $100 Qatari grants several times to tens of thousands of needy families in the coastal enclave.

Israel and Islamic Jihad fought a two-day skirmish on November 12-13, after the IDF killed Baha Abu al-Ata, a top commander in the terror group. During the fighting, the terror group fired some 450 rockets and mortars at the Jewish state, which responded with many retaliatory strikes in Gaza.

An Iron Dome battery in southern Israel near the border with the Gaza Strip on November 13, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Unlike in previous rounds of fighting, the Hamas terror group stayed on the sidelines, and Israel avoided hitting it, as well.

Since then, in a rare shift, Friday protest marches were called off along the Gaza border for two weeks in a row. The move — being only the third and fourth time the weekly demonstrations were canceled since they began in late March 2018 — was seen as marking an attempt by Gaza’s Hamas rulers to avoid fresh confrontation with Israel.

The High National Commission for the March of Return and Breaking the Siege, which includes representatives of Gaza-based terror groups and political factions, said the protests were canceled last Friday to allow “the Palestinian people to continue to provide assistance to family members of martyrs and wounded persons and those whose homes were damaged in the Israeli aggression.”

Adam Rasgon contributed to this report.

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