Sirens blare in Gaza periphery in apparent failed rocket launch
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Sirens blare in Gaza periphery in apparent failed rocket launch

Hours after West Bank firefight surrounding terror suspects’ arrest, Israelis living north of Strip are sent racing to shelters

Illustrative: The Israel-Gaza border, from the Israeli side, with rockets being fired by Palestinian terrorists from the Gaza Strip into Israel, August 20, 2014. (Albert Sadikov/Flash90)
Illustrative: The Israel-Gaza border, from the Israeli side, with rockets being fired by Palestinian terrorists from the Gaza Strip into Israel, August 20, 2014. (Albert Sadikov/Flash90)

Rocket warning sirens were heard in the Gaza periphery on Tuesday morning, hours after a firefight in Jenin during an Israeli arrest operation left a SWAT team member moderately injured.

Sirens were activated in the Hof Ashkelon regional council north of the Strip before sunrise, sending frightened residents running to shelters. There were no reports of casualties or damage.

The Israeli military said it was scanning for an impact site, but added that the sirens were likely the result of a failed launch attempt.

Security forces performing an arrest in the northern West Bank city came under fire by Palestinian gunmen Monday night. A member of the Yamam, Border Police’s elite anti-terror unit, was moderately wounded. He was evacuated to the Rambam Medical Center in Haifa for treatment, and was said to be in stable condition. It was not immediately clear how he had sustained the injury, and Hebrew media raised the possibility that he had been hit by friendly fire.

Initial reports by Palestinian media said at least six Palestinians were shot dead. However, a Palestinian security official did not confirm any dead and said only that five people had inhaled tear gas and were taken to hospital.

Heavy gunfire was reported in one of the refugee camps outside town. Video footage taken by local Palestinians appeared to show multiple IDF vehicles rushing into the city.

Israeli troops reportedly encircled the homes of Bassem Saadi, a formerly imprisoned senior Islamic Jihad terrorist, and Hamas-affiliated Majdi and Alaa Abu al-Hija. The Hija brothers are the sons of imprisoned Hamas leader Jamal Abu al-Hija; their older brother Hamza Abu al-Hija was killed in a shootout with the IDF last year.

According to some reports in Palestinian media, Saadi’s home was demolished by troops during the operation. Others reported that the al-Hija family home had been destroyed as well.

A Palestinian official confirmed that a local Hamas leader and his brother were arrested.

He said soldiers tried to arrest a member of Islamic Jihad but couldn’t find him.

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