search

Gaza rocket fired at Ashkelon, hitting empty warehouse

Attack comes week after rockets fired at central Israel in what the military believes was a malfunction caused by lightning

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

Illustrative: An Israeli missile launched from an Iron Dome missile defense system, designed to intercept and destroy incoming short-range rockets and artillery shells, is seen above Gaza City on November 13, 2019. (Mahmud Hams/AFP)
Illustrative: An Israeli missile launched from an Iron Dome missile defense system, designed to intercept and destroy incoming short-range rockets and artillery shells, is seen above Gaza City on November 13, 2019. (Mahmud Hams/AFP)

Terrorists in the Gaza Strip fired a rocket at the southern city of Ashkelon on Saturday night, striking an empty warehouse in the city, officials said.

The projectile caused damage to the structure, according to municipal officials. There were no immediate reports of injuries, according to the Magen David Adom ambulance service.

The attack came at roughly 9:30 p.m., setting off sirens in Ashkelon and the industrial zone just south of the city, an area where tens of thousands of people live, the Israel Defense Forces said.

No Gaza group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

Last Sunday, two rockets were fired at central Israel from the Gaza Strip. The two projectiles struck open areas, causing neither injury nor damage.

The Hamas terror group sent messages to Israel that claimed the rockets were fired accidentally, set off by lightning during a thunderstorm, an explanation that the IDF has apparently accepted.

Lightning has been blamed for previous rocket launches from the Gaza Strip. In October 2018, a rocket destroyed a home in the city of Beersheba and another landed off the coast of central Israel; and in March 2019, a rocket struck a home in central Israel, injuring seven and causing massive damage to the structure. In both of these cases, which came amid periods of heightened tensions, lightning was alleged to be the trigger for the launch, setting off rockets that had been preemptively primed and aimed at central Israel.

Though Israel is involved in ongoing talks with the Hamas terror group regarding a long-term ceasefire agreement, recent weeks have seen an uptick in violence emanating from Gaza.

Two weeks ago, a drone was flown from the Strip into Israeli airspace before it was brought down by the Israeli military. The week before saw a rocket attack from the Strip, aimed at the Israeli city of Ashkelon. One projectile was intercepted, the other landed in an open field.

Last month, the IDF also uncovered what it said was a Hamas attack tunnel dug from Gaza into Israel.

Israel has fought three large campaigns against terror groups in the Strip since Hamas took control of the area in 2007, along with dozens of smaller exchanges of fire.

read more:
comments