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Palestinians fire rocket toward southern Israel

No injuries or damage reported as projectile falls short of the border; attack attempt follows weeks of calm in the south

Smoke trails of rocket fired by Palestinian militants from Gaza Strip towards Israel in October 2012. (photo credit: AP/Ariel Schalit)
Smoke trails of rocket fired by Palestinian militants from Gaza Strip towards Israel in October 2012. (photo credit: AP/Ariel Schalit)

Palestinians on Wednesday morning fired a rocket from the Gaza strip toward southern Israel, setting off alarms in the coastal city of Ashkelon and its environs.

The rocket failed to reach its target, instead falling inside Palestinain territory.

No injuries or damage were reported.

It was the first rocket attack since April 29, while Israelis were celebrating the holiday of Lag B’Omer.

In response to that attack, the Defense Ministry’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories ordered the closure to commercial traffic of the Kerem Shalom crossing with the Gaza Strip.

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In November 2012 the IDF launched Operation Pillar of Defense in order to curb persistent rocket fire from the Gaza Strip. Over the course of eight days, some 1,500 airstrikes were carried out against terrorist installations and other targtets.

Six Israelis and 167 Palestinians were killed during the operation.

According to Israeli figures, since the end of Operation Pillar of Defense in November, some 20 rockets or mortar shells have been fired into Israel, compared to about 150 over the same period during 2011 and 2012.

On Monday, a senior Arab source told The Times of Israel that Hamas has deployed a 600-man military force in the Gaza Strip that operates 24 hours a day to prevent rocket fire at Israel.

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