Egypt immediately starts mediation to prevent escalation

2 rockets fired from Gaza hit off central Israel coast; terror groups blame weather

No injuries, damage; video shows explosion in sea close to Jaffa; no rocket sirens or Iron Dome activation as projectiles not fired toward populated area; Kohavi to hold assessment

Explosion off the coast of Jaffa, January 1, 2022 (Screen grab/Telegram)
Explosion off the coast of Jaffa, January 1, 2022 (Screen grab/Telegram)

The Israel Defense Forces said Saturday morning that two rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip toward central Israel.

Large explosions were heard in a number of central Israel cities around 7 a.m.

Video circulating on social media showed an explosion in the sea off the coast of Jaffa.

Other footage apparently showed the two rockets being fired from Gaza.

Hebrew-language media reports said the second rocket landed in the sea off the coast of Palmachim, south of the city of Rishon Lezion.

There were no sirens warning of incoming rockets, in a sign that no projectiles were headed for populated areas. The Iron Dome missile defense system was not activated for the same reason.

Police said there were no reports of injuries or damage.

Armed factions in Gaza said the rocket fire was “caused by weather conditions,” not the first time the excuse has been used to explain the firing of projectiles toward Israel.

Previously terror groups have said lightning strikes were responsible for setting off rockets.

Unnamed sourced in the IDF said that the message sent from Gaza was that the rockets were fired “unintentionally” and that Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi was to hold assessments on the matter.

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kohavi speaks during a ceremony honoring wounded soldiers, in Tel Aviv, on November 21, 2021. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Channel 12 news reported that Egypt immediately started mediation efforts between Israel and the Gaza terror groups to try to prevent an escalation of violence.

The rocket fire came days after an Israeli civilian was shot on the Gaza border on Wednesday, prompting retaliatory strikes by the IDF.

However, farming activities continued as normal near the Gaza border on Thursday morning, with the IDF lifting a warning it imposed in the wake of the gunfire from the Strip, indicating that the military was not expecting an escalation of violence after the shooting of the Israeli and the IDF’s strikes, which reportedly injured three Gazans.

In the immediate wake of the shooting, the military had ordered farmers to stay away from land near the Gaza border.

The lightly injured Israeli man was a worker for a civilian firm hired by the Defense Ministry for maintenance of the recently completed security barrier separating Israel and the Palestinian enclave.

Israeli soldiers near the site of where a civilian was injured by gunfire from the Gaza Strip, in southern Israel, December 29, 2021 (Flash90)

After the shooting, the IDF said tanks targeted several Hamas outposts in northern Gaza. The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry said three Palestinians were wounded.

The incidents came after a relatively quiet period and amid intense efforts to reach a stable, long-term ceasefire following a major escalation of violence last May which saw thousands of projectiles fired at Israel and the IDF responding with strikes.

However, reports in recent days have suggested efforts have stalled for a potential deal that would see Hamas release two Israeli civilians and the bodies of two IDF soldiers it is believed to be holding, likely in exchange for Palestinian prisoners.

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