Rocket alarm triggered by explosive hurled during Gaza protest
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Rocket alarm triggered by explosive hurled during Gaza protest

Device does not make it into Israeli territory as fresh unrest reported along border after four Gazans injured in Israeli strikes on balloon-launchers

Palestinian protesters take part in a night demonstration near the fence along the border with Israel, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, on March 19, 2019. (SAID KHATIB / AFP)
Palestinian protesters take part in a night demonstration near the fence along the border with Israel, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, on March 19, 2019. (SAID KHATIB / AFP)

Riots along the Gaza border triggered rocket alert sirens sounded in nearby Israeli communities early Sunday, capping a weekend that saw low-level violence along the restive border.

The Israeli military said a rocket siren that sounded just before 1 a.m. in the Eshkol region opposite the southern Gaza Strip was set off after a Gazan attempted to throw an improvised explosive over the border.

The explosive did not reach Israeli territory and there were no known injuries from the incident, the army said.

It said other explosions heard were also the result of explosives being thrown at troops as part of a riot by Gazans along the border, a near-nightly occurrence as tensions in the Strip have ramped up in recent weeks.

On Saturday, Israeli military aircraft launched a pair of strikes at Palestinian cells flying incendiary balloons from the southern Gaza Strip into Israel, the army said.

Four Palestinians were injured in the strikes.

This picture taken on March 22, 2019 shows a balloons carrying a make-shift drone-shaped object flying over the border with Israel east of Gaza City, after it was set loose by Palestinian protesters during a protest by the fence. (Said KHATIB / AFP)

Recent weeks have seen an uptick of incendiary balloons launched from the coastal enclave, after a drop-off in attacks following an unofficial truce between Israel and the Gaza-ruling Hamas terror group in November.

The launch of incendiary and explosive devices into Israel tied to kites and helium-filled balloons became a common tactic in violent protests along the Gaza border over the past year, burning thousands of acres of farmland and nature reserves, and killing livestock and other animals.

No Israelis have been injured by the recent balloon attacks, though damage was caused to a home in the Eshkol region last month.

Palestinians riot on the border fence with Israel east of Gaza City on March 22, 2019. (Said Khatib/AFP)

On Friday, several thousand Palestinians took part in violent protests on the Gaza-Israel border, throwing explosive devices and rocks at Israeli soldiers who responded with tear gas and occasional live fire. Palestinians said two people were killed.

This month saw a brief flareup of rocket fire after two missiles were launched at the Tel Aviv region in what was later determined to be an accident.

The sides are said to be engaged in Egyptian mediated ceasefire talks.

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