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IDF blames human error for false rocket alarm in south

Military says alert system functioning fine after sirens accidentally sounded in Ashkelon and nearby towns

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

Illustrative image: Children sit together inside a street shelter, in anticipation of the Code Red siren alerting of incoming rockets, in the Southern Israeli town of Nitzan, on the fourth day of Operation Protective Edge, July 11, 2014. (Flash 90)
Illustrative image: Children sit together inside a street shelter, in anticipation of the Code Red siren alerting of incoming rockets, in the Southern Israeli town of Nitzan, on the fourth day of Operation Protective Edge, July 11, 2014. (Flash 90)

Rocket sirens sounded in towns throughout southern Israel on Monday afternoon in what the military said was a false alarm.

The Israel Defense Forces later said the sirens were the result of “human error.”

The sirens were heard in the cities of Ashkelon and Sderot, as well as in the communities of Ivim, Nir Am, Mefalsim, Zikim, Yad Mordechai, Karmia and Netiv Ha’asara, all of which have been targeted repeatedly by rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.

“An initial investigation of the incident found that this was a human error. There was no damage to the operational functionality of the alert system,” the IDF said in a statement.

The false alarm came amid a period of relative calm between Israel and terror groups in the Gaza Strip, as the two sides continue to negotiate a long-term ceasefire, with Egypt, the United Nations and other third parties serving as mediators.

Israel and terror groups in Gaza fought a brutal 11-day conflict in May, in which 13 people in Israel were killed — one soldier and 12 civilians — and some 250 people were killed in Gaza, roughly half of them civilians.

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