Blast in community north of Gaza as unexploded rocket detonates
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Blast in community north of Gaza as unexploded rocket detonates

No reports of injuries at scene of explosion in Be’er Tuvia, east of Ashdod

Illustrative: The remains of a rocket fired from Gaza that fell near an Israeli community in July 2018 (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
Illustrative: The remains of a rocket fired from Gaza that fell near an Israeli community in July 2018 (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

An explosion in a cemetery east of Ashdod on Wednesday was apparently caused by a rocket launched from Gaza last month during a major flareup in violence.

The rocket apparently landed at the site, in the town of Be’er Tuvia, but did not explode on impact.

After the blast, police sappers spent several hours determining the cause of the explosion and removing the last remnants of the rocket.

No one was hurt in the incident.

The rocket was apparently fired during a massive flareup of violence in early May in which Gazan terrorists fired nearly 700 missiles at Israeli communities in southern Israel.

Violence has ebbed since the sides reached an unofficial ceasefire, but the last several days have seen an uptick in balloons with incendiary devices being flown from the Palestinian enclave into southern Israel, starting fires.

On Wednesday, an incendiary object attached to a balloon was found on the perimeter fence of a community in the Eshkol Regional Council, a spokesperson for the Gaza-area council said.

The device did not cause any damage or injuries.

The regional council spokesperson said two fires also broke out in the Be’eri Forest, but did not specify whether it was suspected if these were caused by incendiary devices launched from Gaza.

“We are worried about the growing trend of arson terror and the damage to nature and our agriculture,” Eshkol Regional Council head Gadi Yarkoni said in a statement.

“Eshkol residents expect and are entitled to a happy, calm summer without the smell of fires in their homes, like all Israeli citizens,” he added.

Wednesday’s incendiary balloon launch came a day after Israel announced it will further scale back the Gaza fishing zone from 10 nautical miles to six, in response to a number of arson attacks from the coastal enclave throughout the day.

For the past several months, Israel has been extending and reducing the permitted fishing zone around the Gaza Strip as fewer or more incendiary balloons have been sent over the border.

Such arson attacks appear to violate the reported terms of an unofficial truce between Israel and terror groups in the Strip.

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