Gaza Militants Fire Long-range Grad Rocket Into Western Negev

Firing comes amid growing violence in Gaza, as Israeli forces assassinated 2 Army of Islam Gaza militant leaders in two separate occasions in recent weeks; no casualties reported.

Gaza militants fired a long-range Grad rocket into the western Negev early Friday, Army Radio reported, following a night-long barrage of Qassam rockets fired from the coastal enclave.

A Grad-type Katyusha rocket
Albert Denkberg

No injuries or damages were reported.

The rocket exploded north of the Israeli town of Ofakim, with security forces struggling to pinpoint the exact location due to heavy morning fog.

The launch joined at least two earlier Qassam-rocket firings into western Negev, with no injuries or damages being reported; a third Qassam launch was reported a few hours following the firing of the Grad-type Katyusha.

The attacks comes amid growing violence in Gaza, as Israeli forces struck Army of Islam militant leaders in two separate occasions in recent weeks.

The firing of the Russian-invented Grad-type Katyusha, which has a longer range than the more makeshift Qassam rocket that has been fired by the thousands at Negev towns and villages, comes amid two recent hits of top Gaza militants by Israeli forces.

Mohammed Nimnim and Islam Yassin, killed in Israel Defense Forces air strikes on November 3 and 17, were Gazan leaders of the Army of Islam, a Palestinian Islamist group inspired by al-Qaida. Israel accused them of having planned to attack Israelis in the Egyptian Sinai.

On Thursday, a recording released by declared Al-Qaida affiliates warned the "aggressor Jews" they will not be safe from rockets and other attacks until they "leave the land of Palestine" in wake of recent attacks.

The recording, which was quoted on Army Radio, ends by invoking "al Quds", Arabic for Jerusalem. The speaker's reference to rockets suggests links with Palestinians in Gaza, where this has been a favorite mode of attack against Israel.