Rocket fired from Gaza lands in open field in south; first launch in a month

Attack comes following threats by Islamic Jihad to retaliate over deaths of members in West Bank raid

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

File: Rockets being fired by Islamic Jihad toward Israel from the Gaza Strip, on August 5, 2022. (Attia Muhammed/Flash90)
File: Rockets being fired by Islamic Jihad toward Israel from the Gaza Strip, on August 5, 2022. (Attia Muhammed/Flash90)

A rocket was fired from the Gaza Strip at southern Israel on Saturday night, the military said.

The Israel Defense Forces said the projectile landed in an open field, causing no injuries or damage.

Incoming rocket sirens did not sound in Israel as the rocket was projected by defense systems to land in uninhabited areas, but an alert was activated near the Gaza border towns of Nahal Oz and Kfar Aza on the Home Front Command mobile application.

Residents of the area reported hearing a large explosion.

The IDF said there were no special instructions for residents following the rocket fire.

The rocket fire came as Israeli officials were reportedly concerned about potential retaliation, including in the form of rocket fire from Gaza, over the deaths of two Palestinian Islamic Jihad members.

Both PIJ and the Hamas terror group that rules the Gaza Strip threatened to hit back over the deaths of the pair, who were killed Thursday during a military raid in the West Bank.

Over the past year, the PIJ has launched rockets at Israel in response to members being killed or arrested in the West Bank.

Still, there was no immediate claim by any of the Gaza-based terror groups for the rocket fire Saturday.

In the past, Israel has responded with airstrikes against Hamas sites regardless of the group launching the attack. More rarely, it has directed its response at Islamic Jihad, if the terror group claimed responsibility.

The last time rockets were fired from the coastal enclave toward Israel was on November 3, apparently in response to the death of a PIJ member during a West Bank raid.

On Friday Kan news reported that Qatar has put heavy pressure on the Gaza-ruling Hamas terror group to keep the enclave quiet while the Gulf state hosts the World Cup.

The Qatari envoy to Gaza, Mohammad al-Emadi, told Hamas to maintain calm in the Strip through the end of the tournament, the public broadcaster reported. Al-Emadi was sent to Gaza at the start of World Cup and has since returned to Qatar, the report said. Qatar is a financial supporter of the Strip and has strong ties with Hamas.

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