Israeli Army: Rocket Launched From Gaza Falls in Strip After Sirens Blare in South

Israeli tanks struck Hamas military positions in the southern Gaza Strip earlier in response to rocket launched from the coastal enclave

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The Iron Dome anti-missile system fires interception missiles as rockets are launched from Gaza towards Israel, as seen from the city of Ashkelon, August 21, 2020.
The Iron Dome anti-missile system fires interception missiles as rockets are launched from Gaza towards Israel, as seen from the city of Ashkelon, August 21, 2020. Credit: REUTERS/Amir Cohen

A rocket that was launched from the Gaza Strip fell inside the coastal enclave, said the Israeli army on Saturday evening, shortly after sirens blared throughout Israeli border communities.

Israeli tanks struck Hamas military positions in the southern Gaza Strip Saturday morning in response to a rocket that was launched earlier from the coastal enclave into Israel, the army said in a statement.

On Friday night, the army said the rocket was intercepted by its air defense systems shortly after sirens sounded off throughout Israeli communities along the Gaza border. 

Earlier, the army attacked Hamas targets in the southern Strip after multiple rockets were launched toward Israel. In addition, a house in the southern town of Sderot was damaged by what appeared to be a fragment from a rocket interception overnight Thursday. Overall, there were three airstrikes throughout the night and 12 rockets were fired from the Strip. 

In light of rising tensions, Israel ordered to suspend all agricultural work in fields bordering Gaza on Friday. 

Palestinian factions in Gaza said on Friday that they will not allow Israel to use the launching of explosive-laden balloons as an excuse to attack the Gaza Strip. A statement from the factions' joint operations room said the balloons were "non-violent popular means."

The joint statement also added that "resistance forces have responded and will respond to any attack against the Palestinian people." According to the factions, they "will not allow the enemy to continue the siege, and it is the right of the Palestinian people to respond by all means at its disposal to lift the siege."

On Friday, 22 fires, most of which were small and not dangerous, broke out in the Ashkelon area in southern Israel as a result of explosive laden balloons launched from Gaza, according to a statement from fire services. 

Clusters of balloons launched from the strip have carried different kinds of explosives, police and local councils have said. On several occasions in recent weeks police sappers were called to disarm bombs attached to balloons. 

Hundreds of fires have broken out in Israeli fields in recent weeks after Hamas and other factions in Gaza began launching the balloons amid "stuck" understandings and agreements, a senior Hamas official said.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz had said earlier on Friday that "Hamas will suffer a very severe blow," at a situation assessment meeting with army Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi. 

On Thursday, Israeli tanks attacked Hamas military positions in the Gaza Strip in retaliation for explosive-laden balloons launched from the coastal enclave into Israel.  

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