Sirens Sound, Rocket Fired into Southern Israel

Rocket sirens sounded in southern Israel Tuesday night after a rocket was fired from the Gaza Strip, Israeli police said.

The Israeli military identified at least one rocket fired from Gaza as well as a shooting position after residents reported hearing explosions near Ashdod and Kiryat Malachi, Israeli news source Haaretz reported, adding the military believed the Islamic Jihad group to be behind the attack.

Multiple explosions were heard with Israeli media initially reporting more than one rocket, however only one rocket has been confirmed by Israeli officials.

The rocket landed in an open area and no damage or injuries have been reported.

Shortly after, the Palestinian Ministry of Interior decided to evacuate security headquarters in Gaza in anticipation of Israeli retaliation, while denying that Islamic Jihad leader Nafez Azzam had any link to the incident, according to a press release.

Israeli military spokesman Peter Lerner said Hamas is responsible for any attacks launched from the Gaza Strip.

No militant group in Gaza has claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s rocket.

The incident is the first of its kind since a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip reportedly landed in an open area in southern Israeli just over a month ago.

Last month’s rocket was the first fired in over four months, and was followed by an Israeli military strike on a site belonging to Hamas’ military wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, east of Beit Hanoun.

Tuesday’s incident comes as Palestinian residents of Gaza continue to recover from last summer’s war between Israel and Palestinian militant groups that left over 2,200 Palestinians dead, mostly civilians, and 73 dead on the Israeli side, mostly military personnel.

The UN Special Coordinator (UNSCO) released a report Monday saying the ceasefire that ended the latest war remains “perilously fragile.”

While Palestinian armed groups have test-fired around 150 rockets into the sea, Israeli forces have carried out a range of military incursions into the coastal enclave, including two air strikes, the report said.

Gaza-based Israeli watchdog Al Mezan documented Israeli forces opening fire in the border areas inside of the Gaza Strip six separate times during the first ten days of May, leaving four injured including one child.

(Ma’an – www.maannews.net)

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