A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip landed in southern Israel this morning, but did not cause any injuries or damage.
Photo: Sderot Media Center Archive
The rocket was fired at 04.15 local time and landed in the Shar Hanegev region. The Israel Defence Forces said rocket warning sirens were not activated as it was calculated that it would land in an open area. No organisation has yet taken responsibility for the attack, although small Salafi jihadist groups based in the Gaza Strip have claimed responsibility for similar attacks.
Israel holds Hamas responsible for rocket attacks as the de facto ruling power in Gaza. Earlier this month, a number of cross-border exchanges increased tensions on the Gaza border. Rockets were fired at the Hof Ashkelon region and IDF soldiers were fired on near the Gaza border. Israel responded with tank fire and aerial strikes against strategic Hamas targets. At the time, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that “my policy is to respond strongly to any rocket fire”. There has been no Israeli response yet to last night’s rocket fire.
Israel’s Channel Two yesterday reported that security sources believe Hamas has constructed at least 15 tunnels from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory. Israel destroyed approximately 30 Hamas attack tunnels during Operation Protective Edge in 2014, but Hamas has since invested extensive resources to rebuild the tunnel network.
On Tuesday the State Comptroller will publish his full investigation into the handling of the threat from Hamas tunnels by Israel’s political and defence establishment prior to Operation Protective Edge. The report is expected to sharply criticise Israeli political leaders.
Last weekend, Egypt destroyed a tunnel under its side of the border with the Gaza Strip. In a statement condemning the tunnel demolition, Hamas said that the explosion killed three people and wounded five. Egypt has repeatedly targeted Hamas tunnels into Egypt, accusing Hamas of using the tunnels to assist Sinai Province, an ISIS-affiliated group conducting a terror campaign against Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai Peninsula.