Rocket launched from Gaza toward Israel, falls within Strip

The missile strike comes after Israel's new National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir visited Temple Mount for the first time as a minister.

 IRON DOME missile takes off near Ashkelon, as rockets are launched in the background from the Gaza Strip toward Israel (photo credit: JACK GUEZ/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES)
IRON DOME missile takes off near Ashkelon, as rockets are launched in the background from the Gaza Strip toward Israel
(photo credit: JACK GUEZ/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES)

A rocket launched toward Israel from Gaza fell within the Strip on Tuesday night, the IDF confirmed.

No sirens were activated in Israel and activities around Gaza continued as usual following the failed launch.

Confirmation of an attempted rocket launch from the Gaza Strip comes after Israel's new National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir visited Temple Mount for the first time as a minister – a visit the Biden administration condemned earlier in the day.

Palestinian Authority (PA) officials warned the national security minister on Monday that his planned trip to Temple Mount would lead to an escalation of violence in the area.

Itamar Ben-Gvir controversial visit to the Jerusalem Temple Mount

 National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir on Temple Mount on Tuesday, January 3, 2023 (credit: PUBLIC SECURITY MINISTRY) National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir on Temple Mount on Tuesday, January 3, 2023 (credit: PUBLIC SECURITY MINISTRY)

Ben-Gvir had visited Temple Mount in the past, to the dismay of the Muslim world and moderate Israeli politicians. He previously visited the holy site in August as some 2,200 other Israelis visited the Temple Mount on Sunday as part of Tisha Be’av.

"The Temple Mount is the most important place for the Jewish people," Ben-Gvir said in a statement made following his visit to the religious site. "We [will] maintain freedom of movement for Muslims and Christians," Ben-Gvir stressed, adding that "Jews will climb the mountain."

"(We) will not give in to threats from Hamas... those who make threats will be dealt with an iron fist," the minister further warned.

"(We) will not give in to threats from Hamas... those who make threats will be dealt with an iron fist."

Itamar Ben-Gvir, National Security Minister

Members of the Israeli government have spoken out about Ben-Gvir's provocative visits to the contested site in the past. Opposition head and former prime minister Yair Lapid had previously warned that such a visit by Ben-Gvir would spark tensions in Jerusalem and the West Bank, saying that “as weak as Bibi is, he must this time stand up and tell [Ben-Gvir] not to visit the Temple Mount, since people will die,” Lapid said.

Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef joined the chorus of condemnation regarding Ben-Gvir's visit to the Temple Mount, pointing to a prohibition that the rabbinate holds that prohibits visiting any part of the Temple Mount due to uncertainty about the exact boundaries of the site.

"I feel the need to warn of the severity of the prohibition to visit the Temple Mount and ask you in the name of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel to avoid visiting the Temple Mount in the future, in order not to mislead the public," Yosef declared in a letter.