IDF: Two rockets launched from Gaza at Israel, but fall short
search

IDF: Two rockets launched from Gaza at Israel, but fall short

Sirens sound in communities along border with the Strip; attack comes amid unrest after US recognizes Jerusalem as capital

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

Illustrative. A picture taken from the southern Israeli Gaza border shows rockets being fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel, on July 24, 2014 (JACK GUEZ/AFP)
Illustrative. A picture taken from the southern Israeli Gaza border shows rockets being fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel, on July 24, 2014 (JACK GUEZ/AFP)

Two rockets were launched at Israel from Gaza on Thursday night, but fell short of their mark and landed inside the coastal enclave, the army said.

The launches set off incoming rocket alert sirens shortly after 6 p.m., in the Hof Ashkelon and Sha’ar Hanegev regions, northeast of the Gaza Strip.

The Israel Defense Forces sent soldiers to inspect the area for signs of impact, but, finding none, determined that the two rockets had not reached Israeli territory, a spokesperson said.

No terrorist group immediately took responsibility for the attack.

The rocket launches on Thursday night came amid unrest in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, after US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital the day before. On Thursday, Hamas terror group leader Ismail Haniyeh called for a new Palestinian intifada, or uprising.

The attempted attack also come five weeks after the Israeli military destroyed an attack tunnel belonging to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group, which crossed into Israel from the Gaza Strip. In the blast and its aftermath, 12 members of the terrorist group were killed, along with two Hamas operatives.

Throughout the day on Thursday, Palestinians in Gaza marched, waved Palestinian flags and burned photographs of Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as Israeli and American flags.

Dozens of Palestinians in Gaza also staged violent protests along the security fence surrounding the coastal enclave, throwing rocks and rolling burning tires at the barrier and the Israeli soldiers on the other side.

Israeli troops responded to the protests initially with less-lethal riot dispersal measures and then with live rounds, injuring several of the “main agitators,” the army said.

Last week, the Islamic Jihad launched a dozen mortar shells at an army post northeast of the Strip, causing no injuries but some damage to army equipment.

Smoke billows from a Palestinian Islamic Jihad position near Gaza City after Israeli aircraft bombed it on November 30, 2017, in retaliation to a mortar attack that targeted Israeli troops northeast of the Gaza Strip earlier in the day. (Mahmud Hams/AFP)

The military retaliated with six strikes on terrorist positions in Gaza, four of them belonging to the Islamic Jihad and two to Hamas, which rules the coastal enclave.

In a Wednesday address from the White House, Trump defied worldwide warnings and insisted that after repeated failures to achieve peace a new approach was long overdue, describing his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the seat of Israel’s government as merely based on reality.

Trump also said the United States would move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, though he set no timetable for that.

Trump’s announcement overturns decades of precedent and runs counter to international consensus, with no other country currently taking the same stance.

Jerusalem’s status is among the most difficult issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the US traditional position has been that it must be negotiated between the two sides.

While Israel has always considered Jerusalem its capital, with the prime minister’s office and parliament building located there, countries have avoided recognizing it as such to prevent damaging hopes for a two-state solution.

The Palestinians see the eastern sector of the city as the capital of their future state.

Times of Israel staff and agencies contributed to this report.

read more:
comments