3 rockets fired from Gaza at Israel; one falls short, others cause no damage

No sirens sound as one rocket falls in Strip and the other 2 hit open fields; Palestinian said wounded after failed launch strikes residential area of Beit Hanoun

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

Two rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip at southern Israel on Friday night, the Israel Defense Forces said. Several hours later a third rocket was fired.

According to the military, from the first salvo, one rocket landed in an open field in the Sha’ar Hanegev regional council, while the second fell short in the Hamas-run coastal enclave.

Some Palestinian media reports said the failed launch landed near a residential area of Beit Hanoun in the northern part of the Strip, injuring one person. There was no immediate statement from Gaza medical authorities on the matter.

Early Saturday, a third rocket was fired from the southern Gaza Strip, landing in an open area near a town close to the border, the IDF said.

Incoming rocket sirens did not sound in Israel as the rockets hit uninhabited areas, but an alert was activated near one border town on the Home Front Command mobile application.

Top IDF brass were holding a meeting to discuss a potential response to the rocket attack, according to Hebrew-language media reports.

It was the fourth rocket attack on southern Israel in a week, after one fell short in Gaza on Thursday, one landed near a home in the city of Sderot on Wednesday, and another was shot down by air defenses on Monday.

There was no immediate claim by any of the Gaza-based terror groups for the rocket fire, though Monday’s attack was blamed on the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in several media reports.

Regardless, the IDF responded to Monday’s and Wednesday’s rocket launches with air raids targeting a number of Hamas military sites in Gaza, including one used by Hamas to manufacture weapons.

The army said in its early Thursday statement that it holds Hamas responsible for what takes place in the Gaza Strip, sticking to its long-held policy of targeting posts belonging to the group in response to rocket fire, regardless of whether its fighters were behind the launches or not.

This week’s rocket attacks ended an almost four-month period of quiet on the Gaza border. Wednesday’s rocket fire came at the tail-end of a tension-filled day in Jerusalem, where Israeli nationalists were prevented by police from marching through the Old City’s Damascus Gate, a popular gathering point for Palestinians in East Jerusalem. Hamas had threatened to attack if the march went ahead.

The last few days have seen violent clashes between Palestinian rioters and police on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, leading to the injury of dozens of Palestinians and several police officers.

Hamas and other Gaza-based terror groups have repeatedly invoked the flashpoint holy site as a red line. Police actions to quell riots there last year were among the triggers of an 11-day war in Gaza last May.

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