Thirteen people were injured after two rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip towards Ashkelon and Ashdod in southern Israel on Tuesday. Rocket sirens sounded as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed normalization deals with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.One of the rockets was intercepted by the IDF. Police sappers handled a rocket that fell in Ashdod.
Magen David Adom (MDA) reported that its paramedics were treating a man in his 60s hit by shrapnel who was moderately injured upon admittance but whose condition has since worsened to serious. A man in his 20s was lightly injured by shards of glass and four people were treated for shock.Samson Assuta Ashdod Hospital in Ashdod received 13 patients, including one person in moderate to serious condition, four people lightly injured by shrapnel and eight people suffering from shock.
Palestinian factions have expressed outrage at the normalization deals, protesting against them at multiple demonstrations in the West Bank on Tuesday in a "day of rage."Hamas spokesperson Hazem Qassem responded to the normalization deals shortly after the rockets were fired from Gaza, saying that "the normalization agreements between the UAE and Bahrain with the Zionist entity are not worth the ink with which they were written – and our people, with their insistence on the struggle until the full recovery of their rights, will deal with these agreements as if they were non-existent," according to Palestinian media.
"A question to the United States of America, Israel, Bahrain and the UAE: Will the signing of the normalization agreement at the White House now prevent these missiles from leaving Gaza tonight to Israel?" asked senior Fatah official Monir al-Jaghoub in response to the deals and rocket fire. "Peace begins in Palestine and war begins in Palestine."
Head of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee MK Zvi Hauser responded to the rocket fire on Twitter, writing: "Let us emphasize again: Gaza must be demilitarized from missiles. This is the required achievement."
After the rocket fire, Defense Minister Benny Gantz held a security consultation with Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi and provided directives to the IDF and security officials.
"On this historic evening, we received a reminder from our enemies that it is on us to always be strong and prepared to protect the residents of Israel in every arena and at every moment," said Gantz.Later on Tuesday evening, two Palestinians were arrested by the IDF after they infiltrated into the Jewish state.Hamas and Israel reached ceasefire understandings at the end of August after weeks during which rockets were fired and incendiary and explosive balloons were launched at southern Israel, sparking dozens of fires.
President Reuven Rivlin visited the Gaza Division on Wednesday and met with combat soldiers.
"We stand together with the residents who have experienced three hours of rocket fire, and we're proud of their resilience. We send our prayers to those injured from the rockets fired towards Ashdod, and we strengthen the IDF in its continued operational activity…We won't let the rocket terror pass us by and the safety of our forces won't be abandoned," Rivlin said.
Rivlin also spoke to Givati soldiers in the Gaza Division and thanked them for their service.
"In your decision to enlist to a meaningful combat service, you prove that a balance can be reached between protecting the country and protecting each and every one of our beliefs, values and our way of life," Rivlin told the soldiers. “You’re contributing not only to the country's security but also to Israeli society."Anna Ahronheim and Tobias Siegal contributed to this report.
Islamic Jihad's secretary-general Ziyad al-Nakhalah took responsibility on Wednesday evening for the rocket attack launched on Tuesday, and threatened Israel with more attacks, while noting that its organization is not committed to any ceasefire, according to Walla! News.
"The Palestinian opposition in Gaza has provided a response for the humiliating images coming out of Washington," al-Nakhalah said in an interview. "There are no red lines in resistance actions taken against the occupier and Israel in its entirety is a target if a war breaks out.”