Rocket strikes Sderot yeshiva in second attack from Gaza in a day
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Rocket strikes Sderot yeshiva in second attack from Gaza in a day

Projectile, which did not explode, causes damage, but no injuries; several people were in the building, but most had gone home for Shabbat

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

A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip struck a Jewish religious school in the southern town of Sderot on Thursday night, causing damage but no injuries, officials said.

It was the second rocket attack aimed at southern Israel from Gaza in less than 24 hours, marking a significant rise in the level of violence from the coastal enclave.

The projectile triggered sirens in the town of Sderot and nearby community of Ivim shortly after 9 p.m.

The rocket struck the outer face of the yeshiva, sending debris onto the sidewalk. A number of tempered-glass windows were also broken.

The rocket did not explode, however. Had it detonated, the devastation would have been far greater.

Most students had gone home for the weekend, but several people were still inside the school at the time of the attack.

A Jewish religious school that was hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip in the southern town of Sderot on June 13, 2019. (Mendi Reisel)

Police shut down the area around the school, and sappers were called in to remove the rocket.

In the predawn hours of Thursday, a rocket was fired from Gaza toward the Eshkol region of southern Israel. It was intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system, the army said, and did not cause injuries or damage.

In response, Israeli aircraft bombed a Hamas underground facility in the southern Gaza Strip.

The attack came hours after Israel announced it was imposing a full naval closure of the Gaza Strip, not allowing local fisherman access to the sea, in response to a wave of arson and explosive attacks from the coastal enclave throughout the day.

At least six fires in southern Israel were blamed on incendiary balloons launched from the Strip on Wednesday, and another balloon with a bomb attached to it exploded over an Israeli town. There were no reports of injuries. The arson attacks caused significant damage to area farmland.

There was a marked decrease in the number of balloon attacks on Thursday.

A Jewish religious school that was hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip in the southern town of Sderot on June 13, 2019. (Yediot Mehashetach)

The arson attacks appeared to be a violation of an unofficial ceasefire reached in early May between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers that ended two days of intense fighting between the Israeli military and Palestinian terror groups.

According to Israel’s Channel 12 news, the agreement includes a Hamas obligation to halt violent incidents along the border fence, maintaining a buffer zone 300 meters from the border; an end to the launching of incendiary balloons at Israeli communities and nighttime clashes between Gazans and security forces; and a stop to flotillas trying to break through the maritime border between Gaza and Israel.

In return, Israel expanded the fishing zone and agreed to enable United Nations cash-for-work programs, allow medicine and other civil aid to enter the Strip, and open negotiations on matters relating to electricity, crossings, healthcare, and funds.

The balloon-borne bomb Wednesday was the first armed attack from the Strip since that round of fighting ended on May 5.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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