JERUSALEM – Suspected Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired a missile at Israel in the early hours of Wednesday morning which was intercepted by the missile shield, the Israeli Defense Forces said.
The incident is the latest in a series of recent reciprocal missile launches from Gaza and Israeli airstrikes, and comes amid reports in various Arab media outlets that Hamas had claimed a ceasefire had been brokered by Egypt. Israel has not commented on the reports.
At around 4:00 am local time (0200 GMT), air-raid sirens went off in the Ashkelon industrial area forcing residents to rush to shelters, and a short while later, the Israeli Defence Forces announced that their aerial defense system had intercepted the rocket.
“4:00AM: Israeli families are woken up again by the sound of air-raid sirens from Hamas rocket fire. The Iron Dome aerial defense system intercepted the rocket,” the IDF tweeted.
Prior to that incident, Israel had carried out a bombing in response to the launch of another missile in the early evening, as well as the incursion of a group of people who broke the security fence and set fire to a military post.
Israeli fighter planes attacked several “terrorist” targets in Gaza and a Hamas military complex in Rafah, on the border with Egypt, according to the IDF.
In a statement, the IDF said it considers Hamas – which controls the Gaza Strip – responsible for all activities inside Gaza, and added that it was prepared to intensify their actions if necessary.
At around 8:00 pm Tuesday, militants had fired another missile at Israel, who responded with attacks on a Hamas military installation and an arsenal in Jan Yunis (south).
The escalation in violence began on Monday when a rocket fired from Gaza struck a home in Tel Aviv, wounding seven members of a family, including children.
The IDF said that Palestinian militants had launched 30 rockets and mortar shells at Israel on Monday night, with the Israeli air force responding by striking around 15 targets in northern Gaza.
Hamas, which has controlled the Gaza Strip since 2007, reportedly said that Egypt had succeeded in brokering a ceasefire between the two sides, though there has been no confirmation from Israel.