In false alarm, sirens sound in Israeli town north of Gaza Strip
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In false alarm, sirens sound in Israeli town north of Gaza Strip

Hundreds rush to bomb shelters in Kibbutz Erez, after similar incident last week in which soldiers unnecessarily fired Iron Dome interceptor missiles

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Illustrative: Israelis take cover during rocket attack siren warning in kibbutz Kfar Aza near the Israel and Gaza border, Israel, December 29, 2017. (AP/Tsafrir Abayov)
Illustrative: Israelis take cover during rocket attack siren warning in kibbutz Kfar Aza near the Israel and Gaza border, Israel, December 29, 2017. (AP/Tsafrir Abayov)

Rocket alert sirens sounded in the community of Kibbutz Erez just north of the Gaza Strip on Sunday morning in what the Israel Defense Forces said was a false alarm.

It was not immediately clear what triggered the false alarm, which sent hundreds of residents rushing to bomb shelters.

The sirens came three days after a similar incident in which Israeli troops unnecessarily fired at least two Iron Dome interceptor missiles, apparently after misidentifying two rocket launches from the Gaza Strip that were directed out to sea as heading toward Israel.

The detection systems used to spot and warn of incoming rockets have also in the past been set off by heavy gunfire within the Gaza Strip.

The false alarms came amid a period of relative calm along the normally restive Gaza border.

Last week, Israeli forces brought down a drone as it flew near the border fence along the Gaza Strip.

Illustrative: Balloons carry a makeshift drone-shaped object over the border with Israel east of Gaza City, after it was set loose by Palestinians during a protest by the fence, on March 22, 2019. (Said Khatib/AFP)

The drone was detected in the area of the southern Gaza Strip and “was brought down by IDF troops,” the army said in a statement. The army did not give details on the size or design of the drone, or how it was stopped.

On October 5, two projectiles fired at Israel fell short of the border fence, landing inside the Hamas-held territory, the IDF said.

Those launches triggered incoming rocket sirens in the Gaza border community of Kissufim in southern Israel.

On September 10, two rockets were launched from Gaza at Ashdod, where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was whisked off the stage of a campaign event by his bodyguards to take shelter, and at nearby Ashkelon.

On the day after the September 17 elections, three mortar shells were fired toward Israel. The projectiles all fell short of the border, two of them hitting a home in the southern city of Rafah and lightly wounding seven people, according to the Hamas-run health ministry. The third fell near the fence separating Israel and the Gaza Strip.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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