Third rocket fired from Gaza in 24 hours

Projectile strikes open area in Eshkol region, after two others hit near Ashkelon; no injuries or damage reported

Illustrative photo of a Grad rocket being fired.(Jorge Novominsky/Flash90/File)
Illustrative photo of a Grad rocket being fired.(Jorge Novominsky/Flash90/File)

A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip struck the Eshkol region Thursday night fell in an open area, the IDF spokesperson’s office reported, but caused no damage or injuries.

According to some reports the IDF’s Iron Dome missile interception system intercepted an incoming rocket.

The rocket was the third to be fired at Israel over the past 24 hours. The other two rockets, while setting off sirens in the Ashkelon region, fell in open areas and did not cause injury or damage.

On Tuesday, Gaza’s Hamas rulers said they had redeployed a 600-strong special security force tasked with preventing cross-border rocket fire, after reports it had pulled the unit back two days before.

Hamas spokesman Islam Shahwan said then that the militant Islamic movement would “not allow the occupation (Israel) to break off the ceasefire” that ended an eight-day, full-scale conflict with the Jewish state in November 2012.

In January, government figures show, Gaza-based terror groups fired three times as many rockets at Israel as during an average month in 2013. These included 20 mortar and rocket attacks on Israel’s southern communities, two improvised explosive devices (IEDs) set off on the Gaza-Israel border and two incidents where the IDF stopped militants attempting to launch rockets.

Most of the attacks were carried out by fringe groups operating in Gaza who sought to undermine the Hamas regime, the security establishment determined, according to Israeli daily Maariv.

While Hamas has refrained, for the most part, from directly attacking Israel in order to avoid another invasion, it has also been less proactive in preventing attacks, which it had previously done with relative success after Egypt helped mediate a ceasefire to end operation “Pillar of Defense” in November 2012.

AFP contributed to this report. 

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