Gazan rocket triggers sirens in Ashkelon area

Rocket attacks from Gaza continue despite Israel's warnings.

Rocket fired from the Gaza Strip toward Israel. [File] (photo credit: REUTERS)
Rocket fired from the Gaza Strip toward Israel. [File]
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A rocket fired at Israel from Gaza on Saturday night triggered air raid sirens in the Ashkelon and Hof Ashkelon regions.
Security forces said late Saturday that they had begun searching for the projectile, which apparently exploded in an open area.
The incident comes two days after the Israel Air Force struck Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip in retaliation for two Gazan rockets fired into the South.
Speaking after last week’s incident, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Israel holds Hamas responsible for anything that happens in the Gaza Strip.
“Even if the shooters last night were jihadist groups rebelling against Hamas by firing at us, we view Hamas as being responsible for everything that occurs in the territory of Gaza,” the defense minister added last week.
A radical Salafi-jihadist group – the Omar Brigades – claimed responsibility for that attack, saying it was in response to Hamas killing an Islamic State supporter during a recent raid on his home.
A 15-year-old girl was taken to Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon suffering from shock.
At the end of May, Islamic Jihad fired a rocket that exploded in the Gan Yavne region, east of Ashdod, shattering four weeks of quiet and setting of air raid sirens in the Ashdod and Lachish regions.
Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman said Saturday evening that Israel cannot get used to rocket fire.
“There is no such thing as a trickle and there aren’t ‘rebel organizations’ [in Gaza],” Liberman wrote on Facebook.
“There is only one meaning to the shooting of each rocket: Israeli citizens – men, women and children – cannot live normal lives. We cannot get used to that again, because getting used to it means we’re agreeing to it and a country that values its citizens cannot agree to this.”
MK Haim Jelin (Yesh Atid), a former Eshkol Regional Council chairman, pointed out that only nine months after Operation Protective Edge, rockets are being shot and tunnels dug.
“The government has no military strategy and no diplomatic strategy,” he said.
“Netanyahu is busy splitting up the Foreign Ministry and rehabilitating Gaza without demilitarizing it. That is not how you run a country, that is not how you take care of your citizens’ security and that is not how you fight terrorism and international boycotts.”
According to Jelin, “Netanyahu promised to be strong and determined, but proved again that he is weak and just wants to survive.”
MK Eyal Ben-Reuven (Zionist Union) said “the situation on the Gaza border is not good. We see weekly shootings from the Strip while Hamas, apparently, cannot control the jihadi organizations in its area. Israel cannot accept this and must defend the residents of the South.”
Ben-Reuven said the response must be severe, to show that Israel wants all rocket fire from Gaza to stop, while still allowing Hamas to take control and for Israelis living near the Gaza border to have a quiet summer.