Palestinian terrorists in Gaza fired two rockets at the Ashkelon coastal region, one shortly after midnight on Wednesday and another later in the evening. Explosions were heard by residents as the projectiles fell in open areas, failing to cause injuries or damage.
The IDF remained on high alert along the Gaza border in case of an escalation following a deadly cross-border shooting of an Israeli civilian and a largescale IDF retaliation this week.
Sources from the IDF’s Southern Command said forces were ready to react to attacks at a moment’s notice, while acknowledging that, as of Thursday evening, the situation appeared to be calm.
“But it was also calm before Tuesday’s escalation,” one source said, adding that it was difficult to predict whether the calm would last.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Israel will not tolerate “a trickling of terrorism from Gaza, where Hamas is sovereign, and we see it as responsible for all provocations against our civilians and soldiers. We won’t allow life in the South to be disrupted, and we’ll respond decisively against any harm to our sovereignty.”
Over the past few days, the IDF deployed the Iron Dome rocket defense system in Ashdod, Beersheba and Sderot.
The IDF struck six Hamas and Islamic targets in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday afternoon in retaliation for the cross-border shooting earlier in the day in which Israel sustained its first casualty since the end of Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012.
Earlier on Thursday, speaking at a ceremony for new pilots who received their wings at the Hatzerim airbase in the South, Ya’alon said, “In recent years, our enemies understood that Israel’s military power, which is expressed here as well, will not allow them to realize their ambitions to wipe us off the map.
That’s why they turned to missiles and rockets, terrorism and deligitimization, and now, they seek to develop nuclear weapons to threaten Israel, the Middle East and the whole world.”