Rocket launched at southern Israel from Gaza

Sirens sound in towns north of Gaza Strip; no injuries or damage reported as projectile lands in open area near Yad Mordechai

Joshua Davidovich is The Times of Israel's Deputy Editor

Illustrative: Palestinian missiles are fired from Gaza City toward Israel following Israeli airstrikes on July 17, 2014. (AFP/Thomas Coex)
Illustrative: Palestinian missiles are fired from Gaza City toward Israel following Israeli airstrikes on July 17, 2014. (AFP/Thomas Coex)

A rocket was shot from Gaza at southern Israel Tuesday evening, sending residents searching for shelter.

The rocket landed in an open area near the Yad Mordechai Kibbutz just north of the Gaza Strip, the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement.

“Forces are currently searching the area,” the army said.

There were no reports of injuries or damage directly after the alarms, which sounded in the communities of Zikim, Karmia, Netiv Ha’asara and Yad Mordechai just after 10 p.m., the IDF said.

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Residents in the area reported hearing a large boom.

The attack was the latest in a string of rockets targeted Israel over the last month, mostly attributed to a small salafi group locked in a battle with Gaza’s Hamas rulers.

Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman, a former foreign minister, called on the government to take action to end the sporadic rocket fire.

“”Whoever is prepared to accept a drizzle — will at the end of the day get a torrential downpour,” he wrote on Facebook. “This situation is insufferable, unfathomable and must be brought to an end.”

Israeli planes have attacked targets in Gaza in the past following rocket attacks.

Israel considers Hamas responsible for all rocket fire emanating from the Strip.

The alarms come a day after the United Nations Human Rights Council issued a report accusing both Israel and Palestinian armed groups of possible war crimes over heavy fighting last summer.

The Palestinian groups were accused of indiscriminately firing rockets at Israel during the summer war, which saw thousands of missile and mortar attacks on Israeli cities.

Hamas dismissed the parts of the report that accused it of firing rockets, saying it only targeted military installations, while praising the report’s overall focus on alleged Israeli crimes.

The report fingered Israel for not doing enough to protect civilians during 50-days of fighting in Gaza, among a slew of other violations.

Jerusalem slammed the inquiry as unfair, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calling it “flawed and biased.”

The sides have mostly kept a ceasefire since the war ended in August following 50 days of fighting, though it has been broken by sporadic rocket fire.

Unofficial reports over the past weeks have indicated Israel and Hamas are negotiating a long-term ceasefire in return for the easing of a eight-year blockade on the Palestinian enclave.

Tensions have also been raised over hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan, who the Red Cross said Tuesday was at immediate risk of death.

Judah Ari Gross contributed to this report

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