Sirens Heard in Southern Israel, IDF Says False Alarms

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Kibbutz Nirim, near the Gaza border, after a heavy mortar attack, August 27, 2014.Credit: Eliyahu Hershkovitz

Five rocket alerts sounded in southern Israel on Thursday morning, in the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council and in communities on the Gaza border. There was no word yet whether a projectile had indeed been launched from the Gaza Strip, but the Israel Defense Forces said it seemed likely to be false alarms. 

A mortar shell fired from the Gaza Strip landed in Israeli territory on Tuesday, the first time since the end of the recent war between Israel and the Palestinian factions in Gaza, the Israel Defense Forces confirmed. Hamas later detained those responsible for the firing, Israel security sources said on Wednesday morning. It was clear that Hamas was interested in maintaining the cease-fire, the sources added.

Hamas had said it had no knowledge of any mortar attack on Israel and that the Palestinians factions remained committed to the truce. "There is no sign a mortar bomb was fired from Gaza and Palestinian factions are committed to keep the agreement for calm, and eager to maintain it," spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said on Tuesday.

There were no casualties or damage from that incident, an Israeli military spokeswoman said after authorities located remnants of the shell near a community close to Gaza's border.

A rocket siren sounded in the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council in southern Israel on Monday, but it was a false alarm, according to the IDF.

The head of the Eshkol Regional Council, Haim Yellin, said in response to the fire toward Israel on Tuesday that "it's unclear whether the launch was part of internal exercises or if it was targeting the communities. Whatever it was, we will not accept sporadic fire toward our communities."

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