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Airborne arson attacks resume from Gaza

3 rockets fired from Gaza in early morning attack, at least 1 intercepted

Launches triggers sirens in Sderot, nearby towns; military announces it is closing the Strip’s pedestrian Erez Crossing until further notice

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Rockets are fired toward the sea during a military drill by members of the Mujahideen Brigades, the armed wing of the Palestinian movement of the same name, along a beach off of Gaza City, on April 24, 2021. (Photo by MAHMUD HAMS / AFP)
Illustrative. Rockets are fired toward the sea during a military drill by members of the Mujahideen Brigades, the armed wing of the Palestinian movement of the same name, along a beach off of Gaza City, on April 24, 2021. (Photo by MAHMUD HAMS / AFP)

Terrorists in the Gaza Strip fired three rockets toward southern Israel in the early hours of Monday morning, triggering sirens in the town of Sderot and surrounding communities, the Israel Defense Forces said.

At least one of the incoming projectiles was intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system, according to local government officials.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

The attack came at roughly 6:20 a.m., an unusual time for such rocket launches from the Strip, which generally occur at night.

On Monday morning, Palestinians in Gaza resumed launching balloon-borne explosive and incendiary devices into southern Israel. One such device landed in a field in the community of Dorot, northeast of the Strip in the Sha’ar Hanegev region. Police sappers were called to the scene to remove the suspected bomb, a Sha’ar Hanegev spokesperson said

A suspected balloon-borne explosive device lands in the southern Israeli community of Kibbutz Dorot on May 10, 2021. (Sha’ar Hanegev regional council)

In response to the rocket fire, Israel announced it was closing the pedestrian Erez Crossing to the Gaza Strip “until further notice,” with the exception of emergency humanitarian cases. This came after Israel also closed the Strip’s fishing zone, cutting off a major source of income for thousands of Palestinians in the coastal enclave.

On Sunday night, Palestinian terrorists fired two rockets from Gaza toward the city of Ashkelon and surrounding communities. One was intercepted while the other landed in an open area, the IDF said.

In a second barrage on Sunday night, two mortar shells were fired toward Israel from Gaza, but failed to clear the border and landed within the Strip. And in the predawn hours of Sunday morning, another mortar shell fired from Gaza struck an open field near the border.

Throughout Sunday, a steady stream of balloon-borne incendiary devices launched from Gaza into Israel also caused dozens of fires in southern Israel.

The attacks came amid ongoing violence in Jerusalem, the West Bank and along the Gaza border, coming from both the general heightened tensions associated with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, as well as the impending eviction of dozens of Palestinians from East Jerusalem’s Sheik Jarrah neighborhood in favor of Jewish tenants, a highly contentious case that is being reviewed by the courts and has prompted concern in Washington and denunciations of Israel from around the world, including by close allies.

Last month, terrorists in Gaza launched dozens of rockets at southern Israel in a flare-up. Most of the rockets landed in open fields, where they caused no injury or damage, but a few struck inside Israeli communities, with shrapnel hitting buildings and vehicles.

On Friday, three Palestinians opened fire toward a Border Police base in Israeli territory near the northern West Bank, with two of the attackers killed and one wounded when officers on the scene returned fire.

Also last week, Israeli yeshiva student Yehuda Guetta was shot in a Palestinian terror attack in the West Bank. He died of his wounds on Wednesday night.

Emanuel Fabian and Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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