Palestinian terrorists broke a three-month cease-fire on Tuesday and fired a
rocket from Gaza into southern Israel.
The rocket fell on a road south of
Ashkelon causing damage, but no injuries.
The M-75-type medium-range
projectile was the same as those used to hit Tel Aviv and greater Jerusalem
during November’s eight-day conflict with Hamas.
The Gaza branch of
Fatah, the Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigade, said it was behind the attack, according to
the Palestinian news agency Ma’an.
The report said the brigades fired a
rocket in response to the “liquidation” of Palestinian prisoner Arafat Jaradat,
who recently died in the Megiddo security prison.
Although Hamas is not
believed to have fired the rocket, it is unlikely that the Al-Aksa Brigade in
Gaza could have done so independently, without Hamas’s blessing.
rocket siren warning system did not go off in Ashkelon during the attack, a
failure that is being investigated by the IDF.
Following the attack, the
IDF shut the Kerem Shalom border crossing with Gaza to goods and decreased
activity at the Erez Crossing, allowing only humanitarian goods to enter the
According to Ch.-Insp. Liat Nidan of the Lachish sub-district,
police have not increased their level of readiness in the wake of the rocket
strike, and have not received any sort of assessment from the security
establishment about a possible flare-up in the days to come.
“An explosion was heard in the Ashkelon region. One rocket
struck, damaging a road, but causing no injuries,” national police spokesman
Micky Rosenfeld added.
The attack came following Jaradat’s death on
Saturday. Israel has dismissed claims by Palestinians that the prisoner
was tortured, saying he suffered a heart attack.
The death of Jaradat,
buried in a funeral in the Hebron area attended by thousands on Monday, along
with a hunger strike by four other Palestinian inmates, have stoked tensions
ahead of a planned visit
next month by US President Barack
Israel’s ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor sent an urgent letter to
Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday, calling on the Security Council to
issue a swift condemnation of renewed rocket fire from Gaza into southern
“The fragile calm that has prevailed over the past three months
has been shattered,” Prosor wrote. “Israel holds Hamas fully responsible for any
attack that emanates from areas under its control.”Michael Wilner
contributed to this report.