Rockets Fired at Southern Israel; Military Strikes Hamas Targets in Gaza

Media outlets in Gaza say no injuries after airstrike damages Hamas training facility

FILE PHOTO: A streak of light is seen as a rocket is launched from the northern Gaza Strip towards Israel August 21, 2014
\ REUTERS

Two rockets were fired at southern Israel early Thursday, the army said, about two hours after the military conducted airstrikes against targets belonging to Hamas in the Gaza Strip following the launch of incendiary balloons from the enclave earlier in the day.

Alarms sounded in Israeli communities along the Gaza border, including Sha'ar Hanegev and Sdot Negev Regional Councils, before the rocket fire, but there were no reports of damage and no one was hurt.

Palestinian media reported that a Hamas training facility in Gaza was target by the Israeli air force. It was heavily damaged, reports say, but no casualties were reported.

The rocket from Gaza that fell in the Sdot Negev Regional Council, May 2, 2019.
Rafi Bavian, Sdot Negev Regional Council

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The development came after Israel minimized on Tuesday the fishing zone for Gazans from 15 nautical miles down to six, after a rocket fired overnight Monday landed in Israeli waters. 

The Israeli army said the rocket launched by Islamic Jihad on Monday was aimed at hitting one of Israeli communities along the border. It named Islamic Jihad officials directly, publishing their photos, and laid responsibility for the attack on the organization, an unusual move as it normally holds Hamas accountable for aggression coming out of the Strip.

Earlier Wednesday, fire and rescue services were called to put out two fires near Israeli border communities, which authorities say were caused by firebombs from Gaza.

In March, tensions at the Israel-Gaza border soared when seven people were wounded after a house in central Israel was hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, prompting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to cut short his visit to Washington and return to Israel. 

The Israel Defense Forces then launched an offensive, striking heavily in Gaza.

The Gaza Health Ministry reported on Friday that 60 Palestinians had been wounded in protests that day, including some by live fire. Israel said that 30 Palestinians were wounded in the protests. 

Palestinian groups in Gaza have threatened over the past week to resume certain activities at the border that were recently frozen, including the use of incendiary balloons. Sources in the committee that organizes weekly protests at the border said this week that Israeli failure to implement recently agreed-upon understandings is leading to anger in Gaza and could lead to violent escalation.