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Three rockets fired from Gaza, newborn hurt in rush to shelter

Two missiles downed by Iron Dome after sirens sound in Sderot and surrounding areas, 3-week-old and mother treated for injuries after fall as tensions ramp up

Illustrative: An Israeli missile launched from the Iron Dome missile defense system, designed to intercept and destroy incoming short-range rockets and artillery shells, is seen above Gaza City on November 13, 2019. (Mahmud Hams/AFP)
Illustrative: An Israeli missile launched from the Iron Dome missile defense system, designed to intercept and destroy incoming short-range rockets and artillery shells, is seen above Gaza City on November 13, 2019. (Mahmud Hams/AFP)

Three rockets were fired from Gaza into southern Israel late Thursday night, the Israel Defense Forces said, as tensions in the region continued to heat up.

There were no direct injuries, but an infant suffered head injuries during a rush into a bomb shelter in Sderot.

Two of the rockets were shot down by the Iron Dome anti-missile system. A third landed in an unpopulated area.

There were no immediate reports of damage.

Video published by Israeli media purported to show the rocket fire over the city.

Rocket alert sirens sounded in Sderot, at Sapir College, in the Shaar Hanegev Regional Council, and in several nearby kibbutzim, including Ibim, Gevim and Nir Am.

The infant, 3-weeks old, was hurt when her mother fell while running into a shelter in Sderot. The newborn was listed in moderate condition at Soroka Hospital in Beer Sheva and the mother, 30, had light injuries, the Magen David Adom rescue service said.

The attack came hours after the Israeli Air Force carried out strikes on the southern Strip in response to cross-border fire earlier in the day, amid fears of an escalation of violence in Gaza and the West Bank following the release of a US peace plan that is seen as heavily favoring Israel.

Even before the release of the peace plan, forces in the south had been battling a resurgence of balloons with explosives or incendiary devices being launched from Gaza, which have continued to terrorize communities.

A bunch of balloons attached to an incendiary device is prepared to be flown into Israel, near the Israel-Gaza border east of Al-Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, January 22, 2020. (Ail Ahmed/Flash90)

On Thursday morning, a bundle of balloons connected to an explosive device were found in the area of the Ashkelon Coastal Regional Council. There were no injuries.

Earlier in the day, Ibrahim al-Shantaf, identified as a member of Hamas’s military wing, died in an accident while working in one of the group’s underground tunnels in the Gaza Strip.

Thursday’s strikes came less than a day after Israeli aircraft attacked several sites in the Gaza Strip in response to a mortar shell fired into southern Israel.

On Wednesday evening, the military announced it was deploying additional troops to the Gaza border and West Bank amid concerns that Palestinians may respond violently to the peace plan, which was released on Tuesday.

Palestinian leaders have rejected the plan out of hand.

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