Two rockets were launched at southern Israeli cities just as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu inked agreements between Israel and two Gulf states, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, in the White House.
Sirens sounded off in the port city of Ashdod and the coastal city of Ashkelon, north of Gaza, according to the Israeli army. Residents reported hearing blasts in the area. Police later confirmed that a rocket had fallen in Ashdod.
Sappers and police officers were at the site to dispose of rocket parts, according to the police statement. The military meanwhile said two rockets had been fired from Gaza and that one had been intercepted.
Two people received treatments for injuries sustained from glass debris in Ashdod. A 62-year-old man was moderately wounded in the torso, and a 28-year-old man was lightly injured in the limbs. They were taken to a nearby hospital. Four other people were suffering from shock.
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Following the rocket fire, Hamas released a statement saying that “The agreements between Israel and Bahrain and the UAE isn’t worth the ink spilled or the paper it was signed on. The Palestinian people are determined to continue the struggle to get all of their rights, and will treat these agreements as if they do not exist.”
Defense Minister Benny Gantz held a security consultation with military Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, after which he passed on instructions to the army and defense officials. Gantz said that “on a historic evening of peace, we received a reminder from our enemies that we must always be strong and prepared to protect the residents of Israel in every place and at all times.”
Rocket alarms sounded again before dawn on Wednesday. The IDF said it was checking whether more projectiles had been fired at Israel.
Mustafa Barghouti, leader of the Palestine National Initiative and a member of the PLO Central Council, told Haaretz that the event in Washington was a mere performance meant to serve U.S. President Donald Trump and Netanyahu.
According to Barghouti, the presence at the signing ceremony of the Emirati and Bahraini foreign ministers rather than the countries’ leaders was evidence that the UAE and Bahrain also understand it was all a show. Anyone who wishes to make real peace cannot ignore the Palestinians, and the rocket fire during the ceremony proved it, Barghouti said.