Gaza Barrage: Israel Intercepts 7 Rockets; Palestinians Report IDF Struck Hamas Posts in Strip
Seven rockets were fired toward Israel from the Gaza Strip on Friday evening. All of the rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system, the Israeli military said.
A house in the southern Israeli city of Sderot was directly hit by rocket fire but no injuries were reported.
Palestinians have reported that the Israeli military struck Hamas posts in the center of the Strip in retaliation for the rocket fire. The Israel Defense Forces has yet to confirm these reports.
>> Read more: High-flying UAV and jihadist commander threaten to ignite Israel-Gaza front | Analysis
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's bureau stated that the premier is contact with the Israeli military's chief of staff, and is instructing the army to respond to the rocket fire with the necessary measures.
Earlier Friday, rocket alerts were activated in the southern Israeli city of Sderot and in the local regional council of Sha'ar HaNegev.
The security establishment pointed at the commander of Islamic Jihad's northern brigade as the man in charge of the recent attacks. Security sources have said that the commander, Baha Abu al-Ata, has his own indepedent policy which Hamas is struggling to rein in.
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Arab press has reported recently of progress in talks, mediated by Egypt and Qatar, which are meant to ensure the calm between Israel and Hamas in return for Israeli concessions and the continuation of a monthly Qatari cash infusion into the Strip.
On Thursday, a rocket was fired from the Gaza Strip toward the local regional councils of Eshkol and Sdot Negev. A siren was sounded and the Iron Dome missile defense system was activated, but no interception took place. No injuries were reported and the location where the rocket hit was not found, although locals reported hearing blasts. In response to the rocket fire, the Israeli army struck Hamas posts through the air as well as with artillery fire east of Gaza City. Palestinian reports indicated that no injuries were caused as a result of the Israeli strikes.
Earlier this month, two rockets were launched from Gaza toward Israel but had failed to reach Israeli territory. The past several months have seen a relative calm along the border between Israel and the coastal enclave.
The last serious flare-up took place in August, when Palestinians targeted Israel with rockets on four different occasions. During one of those attacks, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was forced to evacuate the stage mid-speech while he was making an address in Israel's south ahead of the September 17 election. Following that strike, the premier slashed Gaza fuel imports in half in retaliation for the ongoing rocket fire.
Jack Khoury and Noa Landau contribued to this report.