Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip fired at least 18 rockets toward Israel in multiple salvos Friday night, the worst attack from the Strip in long months, after days of clashes in Jerusalem and the West Bank that involved Palestinian and Israeli civilians as well as Israeli security forces.
There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage in the attacks.
Around 11 p.m. Friday the IDF said three rockets were launched from Gaza, with the Iron Dome system intercepting one of the projectiles. Two other rockets fell in an open area and there were no reports of injuries or damage. Iron Dome is programmed to not deploy at rockets that are projected to hit non-populated areas.
The IDF said that in response to the attack, one of its tanks fired at a Hamas post in Gaza.
Then, around 2 a.m., rocket sirens were again activated several times in communities near Gaza, with seven more apparent rocket launches. Iron Dome was reported to intercept three of the rockets. Others fell in open areas.
Sirens were again activated around 3 a.m., 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. with more rockets that hit open areas.
The rocket salvos came after hours the Hamas terror group that rules Gaza held a series of protests in the Strip and called for violence against Israel in the wake of fierce clashes Thursday in Jerusalem between police, extremist Jewish activists and Palestinian protesters.
Addressing the protesters, senior Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar condemned the decision of some Arab states to normalize relations with Israel last year and lashed out at the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank for continuing its security coordination with Israel.
“After a long series of protests and demonstrations, we have reached the conclusion that without weapons, we cannot liberate our land, protect our holy sites, bringing back our people to their land or maintain our dignity,” he said.
A single rocket was fired into Israel from Gaza last Friday. Another was fired the day before. Neither rocket caused injuries or damage, and the IDF hit Hamas targets in response.
The attacks came during a general lull in violence from the Gaza Strip in recent months, amid a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas and as Gaza grapples with the coronavirus pandemic.
Last month, a rocket was fired toward Beersheba as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a campaign stop in the southern city ahead of the March 23 elections.