2 rockets fired from Gaza set off sirens, fall short of border fence, IDF says
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2 rockets fired from Gaza set off sirens, fall short of border fence, IDF says

Alarms sound in Kibbutz Kissufim as projectiles launched from Strip land inside Hamas-held territory, hours after Palestinian killed in border riot

Illustrative: Rockets are launched from Gaza Strip to Israel, May 5, 2019.  (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Illustrative: Rockets are launched from Gaza Strip to Israel, May 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Two projectiles fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip on Friday fell short of the border fence, landing inside the Hamas-held territory, the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement.

The launches triggered incoming rocket sirens in the Gaza border community of Kissufim in southern Israel shortly before midnight.

The incident came hours after a Palestinian man was killed during riots along the Gaza-Israel border fence on Friday, according to the Hamas-run health ministry, as thousands took part in weekly protests.

Alaa Hamdan, 28, was shot in the chest by IDF soldiers in a clash near Jabalia in northern Gaza, the ministry’s spokesman said. The IDF had no immediate comment on the death.

Israel’s Channel 12 said the death may have been caused by a Palestinian grenade.

Five other demonstrators were wounded by gunfire, the Hamas-run ministry said.

Around 6,000 Palestinians took part in the day’s protests with some rioters throwing rocks and explosives at the security fence and troops along the border.

The rioters also burned tires and threw fire bombs and the army responded with tear gas and occasional live fire.

Palestinian rioters on the Gaza border, August 30, 2019. (Hassan Jedi/Flash90)

Last Friday, more that 7,000 Palestinians protested along the Gaza border, with one killed and 28 injured by the IDF.

Since March 2018, Palestinians have been holding weekly “March of Return” protests on the border, which Israel has accused Gaza’s Hamas rulers of using as cover to carry out attacks and attempt to breach the security fence.

Hamas, an Islamist terror group, seeks to destroy Israel.

Last Thursday, an Egyptian intelligence delegation paid a secret visit to Israel due to fears of a fresh flareup between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip amid the political deadlock in Jerusalem, Channel 13 reported.

The envoys from Cairo met with senior officials from the Prime Minister’s Office for the first time since the September 17 elections in Israel, which resulted in no clear winner. Egyptian officials are reportedly concerned that the situation in Gaza will once again spiral into a wider conflict, and with only a caretaker prime minister in Jerusalem, Israel will have a harder time preventing the situation from escalating to a full-blown war.

There was no mention of the delegation also visiting Gaza. Egypt has brokered a number of truces between Israel and Hamas in recent years.

On September 10, two rockets were launched from Gaza at Ashkelon and Ashdod during a campaign rally by the prime minister, who was whisked off the stage by his bodyguards to take shelter.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) is seen with security chiefs at the IDF’s Tel Aviv headquarters on September 10, 2019, hours after a rocket attack on Ashdod forced him to run for shelter during a campaign rally (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)

Haaretz reported that Netanyahu planned a large offensive in Gaza after the incident but scotched the plan after the attorney general advised him he would need to get cabinet approval.

Hours after the rocket fire from the Gaza Strip, Netanyahu convened the heads of the security establishment, including IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi, Shin Bet head Nadav Argaman and Mossad chief Yossi Cohen.

According to Haaretz, Netanyahu, who is also the defense minister, sought an “extraordinary” and “far-reaching” military reaction to the rockets — the nature of which was not disclosed — but several security officials were hesitant to take such action.

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.

AFP contributed to this report.

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