Rocket sirens blare in south as projectile fired from Gaza fails to cross border

Alarms wail in Kibbutz Kerem Shalom, days after 2 rockets were fired into Israel, drawing retaliatory airstrikes

The smoke trail of a rocket, fired by Palestinian terrorists, flying over the Gaza Strip, on February 23, 2020. (Mahmud Hams/AFP)
Illustrative: The smoke trail of a rocket, fired by Palestinian terrorists, flying over the Gaza Strip, on February 23, 2020. (Mahmud Hams/AFP)

Rocket sirens blared in southern Israel early Tuesday morning for the second time in under a week as a projectile fired at Israel from Gaza failed to cross the border.

The alarms went off shortly after midnight in Kibbutz Kerem Shalom, near the southern part of the Gaza Strip and Israel’s border with Egypt.

The Israel Defense Forces said, “One launch was identified from Gaza that did not cross into Israeli territory.”

It wasn’t immediately clear if the projectile was a rocket or mortar shell.

On Tuesday morning terrorist groups in the Strip are set to hold a joint military exercise that will include all of the armed groups in the territory. The joint drill, which will be led by the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror groups, will be the first of its kind, the Ynet news site reported.

Terrorists in the Strip are expected to fire rockets into the Mediterranean Sea as part of the exercise, which is set to last around half a day, the report said.

On Friday evening, terrorists in Gaza fired two rockets into Israeli territory that were downed by the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system. The projectiles set off sirens in Israeli communities north of the Strip including Ashkelon, Zikim and Netiv Ha’asara.

Hours later, early Saturday morning, the IDF attacked the Hamas in Gaza in response to the rockets.

Smoke and flames are seen following an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City, which came after terrorists in the Strip fired rockets into Israel, December 26, 2020. (Mahmud Hams/AFP)

IDF aircraft hit Hamas targets including a rocket manufacturing site, underground infrastructure and a military outpost, the IDF said.

Hamas on Saturday claimed the airstrikes damaged a children’s hospital, but the Israeli military flatly denied hitting the hospital, and said exploding Hamas munitions may have done so.

Last month, two rockets fired from Gaza struck open areas along the coast — one near the city of Ashdod and the other on Palmachim Beach, south of Tel Aviv — causing no significant damage or injuries.

Soldiers operating the Iron Dome air defense system attempted to shoot down the rocket fired toward Palmachim Beach, firing at least two interceptor missiles at the projectile, but did not bring it down. Fragments of an interceptor missile landed in the nearby city of Bat Yam, causing minor damage.

The rocket fire last month came days after the one-year anniversary of the killing of Palestinian Islamic Jihad commander Baha Abu al-Ata.

Israel has fought three large campaigns against terror groups in the Strip since Hamas took control of the area in 2007, along with dozens of smaller exchanges of fire.

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