Rocket fired from Gaza hits house in southern Israel

No immediate reports of casualties; IDF investigating incident amid escalating tension on Gaza border after 4 soldiers wounded in bombing

Illustrative: Flares fired by Israeli forces to check the border are seen over Gaza City on February 6, 2017. (Mahmud Hams/AFP)
Illustrative: Flares fired by Israeli forces to check the border are seen over Gaza City on February 6, 2017. (Mahmud Hams/AFP)

Rocket warning sirens blared on the Gaza Strip border on Saturday night amid escalating violence between Israel and the Palestinians in the coastal Strip, as one rocket hit a house in the community of Sha’ar Hanegev.

There were no immediate reports of casualties and the army could only confirm that a rocket had been fired into Israel.

The rocket caused significant damage and several residents of the community were treated for anxiety, the Ynet news site.

Video footage of the land site showed damage to the roof of the building.

The sirens sounded in the communities of Sufa and Holit near southern Gaza. Several minutes later warnings went near the Erez crossing and Sha’ar Hanegev in the north. The IDF said it was investigating.

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In the south, the army said no rockets were fired into Israel, amid reports that Hamas had fired anti-aircraft missiles at IAF jets.

The warnings came on a day of escalating violence.

Earlier Saturday four IDF soldiers were wounded, two seriously, when a bomb exploded next to their patrol on the Gaza border fence.

The army said the soldiers were hit when a patrol stopped along the border to remove a flag that had been placed at the fence a day earlier during a protest, and that a device planted below the flag then detonated.

The spokesperson said that the patrol — made up of Golani infantry soldiers and members of a combat engineering unit — was operating with standard procedures to remove any foreign object from the border fence, but that these would now be reviewed.

The soldiers were evacuated by helicopter to Soroka hospital in Beersheba for treatment, where three of them were rushed into surgery. The soldiers were not in life-threatening condition, hospital officials said later Saturday.

In response, an IDF tank fired a shell at a Palestinian Islamic Jihad observation post.

Later in the evening, the IAF hit six Hamas targets in Gaza, including an attack tunnel and Hamas weapons factories, the army said.

Also during the strikes an IDF tank opened fire on a group of Palestinians approaching the border in a “suspicious manner,” the army said. The Hamas-run health ministry said at least two people were wounded.

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