Gaza Rocket Barrage: Direct Hit to Building in Southern Israeli Community

Israeli army strikes Hamas targets in retaliation ■ Missile defense system intercepts two rockets ■ Some 4000 protesters take part in riots throughout West Bank, Gaza

Israeli forces inspect a part of a rocket that was fired from Gaza and hit the Israeli regional council of Shaar Hanegev, December 29, 2017.
Eliyahu Hershkovitz

Three rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip toward southern Israel on Friday, the Israeli army said. Israel's Iron dome missile defense system intercepted two of the rockets, while the third hit a building in the regional council of Shaar Hanegev, causing damages. No casualties were reported.

A building hit by a rocket fired from Gaza, Shaar Hanegev Regional Council, Israel, December 29, 2017.
Israel Police Spokesperson

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In response, the Israeli army struck two Hamas positions in the northern Gaza Strip by tank and aircraft. 

Earlier, rocket sirens sounded in the regional councils of Shaar Hanegev and Sdot Negev. The sirens went off while a ceremony was being held at the nearby Israeli community of Kibbutz Kfar Aza in honor of the birthday of Oron Shaul, an Israeli soldier who was killed during the 2014 Gaza war. Hamas is thought to be holding Shaul's body. The leader of Israel's Labor Party, Avi Gabbay, attended the ceremony.

Meanwhile Friday, clashes erupted between Israeli security forces and Palestinian protesters in the West Bank cities of Ramallah, Hebron, Nablus and Bethlehem. Some 2,000 protestors took part in 20 protests throughtout the West Bank. Rocks and molotov cocktails were thrown, and riot dispersal means were employed by security forces.

Approximately 2,000 Palestinians took part in protests along the Gaza Strip. Four Palestinians were shot when they tried to break through the border fence, the IDF reported.

Israelis take cover as rocket sirens sound during a ceremony for slain Israeli soldier Oron Shaul, Kibbutz Kfar Aza, Israel, December 29, 2017.
Tsafrir Abayov/AP
Israelis take cover as rocket sirens sound during a ceremony held in honor of the birthday of slain Israeli soldier Oron Shaul, near the border with Gaza, December 29, 2017.
Gil Eliyahu
Israeli forces inspect a building that was damaged when a rocket fired from Gaza hit the Israeli regional council of Shaar Hanegev, December 29, 2017.
Eliyahu Hershkovitz

Two weeks ago, a rocket fired from Gaza exploded in the yard of a residential building in southern Israel's Hof Ashkelon Regional Council, and another exploded in a nearby open area. 

Around 30 rockets have been fired from Gaza at Israel since U.S. President Donald Trump’s December 6th announcement recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. This is the largest number of rockets fired at Israel since Israel’s last offensive with Hamas in the summer of 2014.