Iron Dome intercepts 3 rockets fired from Gaza after tense weekend on border

Three residents from Sderot and surrounding communities lightly injured as they rush to bomb shelters

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's religions and Diaspora affairs correspondent.

Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted three rockets fired from the Gaza Strip at southern Israel on Saturday evening, the Israeli military said. Earlier, the army said two of the rockets had been shot down and that the third had likely landed in an open field.

“Following an initial investigation, three launches were detected and were shot down by air defense soldiers, and not two as previously reported,” the military said in a statement on Saturday.

The rocket attack came after a tense weekend along the Gaza border.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage caused by the rockets or shrapnel from the interceptions.

The incoming projectiles triggered sirens in the town of Sderot and surrounding communities, sending thousands of people rushing to bomb shelters.

Three people — a 10-year-old girl, 47-year-old woman and 27-year-old man — sustained light injuries while running to bomb shelters, medics said. Two people also received treatment after they suffered anxiety attacks because of the sirens.

A spokesperson for the Sha’ar Hanegev region of southern Israel said no rockets had landed inside communities.

Videos from southern Israel appeared to show the launch of Iron Dome interceptor missiles exploding in the sky, apparently as they shot down incoming rockets.

The sirens caused a minor panic at a large youth group activity taking place at a gymnasium in the city of Sderot.

“Lie down on the ground, put your hands on your head. No need to panic,” someone could be heard saying in a video posted on social media.

The sirens came a day after some 4,000 Palestinians took part in protests along the Gaza border on Friday, with several hundred rioting and throwing rocks and explosive devices at IDF troops, who responded with tear gas and occasional live fire.

The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry said 27 Palestinians were injured in the demonstrations.

On Saturday, Israeli fighter jets were sent to fly over the Gaza Strip after suspicious activity was detected in the Palestinian enclave.

The aircraft were dispatched three times, according to the Kan public broadcaster, but nothing out of the ordinary was found.

It was not clear what the suspicious activity was.

Also Saturday, the military said Israeli troops arrested two suspects who crossed the border fence in southern Gaza into Israel.

The two were unarmed and taken in for questioning, the Israel Defense Forces said.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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