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.

June 19, 2013 08:22
1 minute read.
Hamas's Kassam Brigades [file].

Hamas's Kassam Brigades 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah)


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"Code Red" warning sirens sounded in Ashkelon and surrounding areas early Wednesday morning, an IDF spokesperson confirmed.

Shortly after the sirens went off, three rockets fell in open areas, landing in Palestinian areas, Israel Radio reported.

The rocket attack marks the first time Palestinian terrorists in Gaza have attempted to strike Israel for nearly two months.

No damage or injuries were reported.

The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) ordered the closure of the Kerem Shalom border crossing between Gaza and Israel.

About 20 rockets have been fired by militant groups this year. Several rockets were fired during US President Barack Obama’s visit in March.

The rocket fire broke a months-long period during which the Hamas regime in Gaza restrained elements in the coastal enclave, bringing about quiet. Since Operation Pillar of Defense in November, there have been few incidents of rocket fire.

Last month, the London-based Arab language daily Asharq Al-Awsat reported that Hamas replaced policemen at the Gaza Strip border areas with fighters from its Kassam Brigades in an effort to stop rocket fire at southern Israel.

The paper quoted a Palestinian source as saying that Israel passed messages to Hamas through Egyptian mediators threatening to launch another large-scale operation in the Gaza Strip if the rocket fire didn't stop.

Hamas's Kassam Brigades have set up fixed and mobile roadblocks and have begun searching cars in areas near the border. They were also deployed to areas further away from the border that were used in the past to fire rockets at Israel, the Palestinian source told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Salafist organizations in the Gaza Strip have said they would not abide by understandings reached between Israel and Hamas following the military operation in November.

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