Palestinians fire rocket at South, shattering calm

Rockets land in Palestinian areas after "Code Red" siren sounded in Ashkelon; COGAT: Kerem Shalom border crossing closed.

Hamas's Kassam Brigades 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah)
Hamas's Kassam Brigades 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah)
Shattering a lengthy period of calm, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip fired an unknown number of rockets at southern Israel, triggering air raid sirens in Ashkelon and surrounding areas early on Wednesday morning and awakening residents.
As of Wednesday evening, the IDF, which launched a search of the area, found no projectiles in Israeli territory, and an army source indicated the rockets may have fallen inside Gaza.
Ashkelon Mayor Beny Va’aknin told Army Radio that a number of worried parents called local authorities to see if schools would open as normal, which they did. He said the city quickly returned to normal after the siren.
The rocket attack marks the first time Palestinian terrorists in Gaza have attempted to strike Israel in nearly two months.
In response, the IDF’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories unit ordered the closure of the Kerem Shalom border crossing between Gaza and Israel.
About 20 rockets have been fired by terrorist groups this year. Several rockets were fired during US President Barack Obama’s visit in March.
Last month, the London-based Arab-language daily Asharq Al-Awsat reported that Hamas replaced policemen at the Gaza Strip border areas to prevent smaller Salafi-jihadi groups from violating the cease-fire and firing rockets at Israel.
The paper quoted a Palestinian source as saying that Israel passed messages to Hamas through Egyptian mediators threatening to launch another large operation in the Gaza Strip if the rocket fire didn’t stop.
Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.