Monday, October 28, 2013

Iron Dome intercepts rocket fired at Ashkelon from Gaza

Sirens heard in communities surrounding Strip; comes hours after Israel names 26 Palestinian prisoners set to go free, including 5 Gazans

By Lazar Berman and Times of Israel staff October 28, 2013

Iron DomeTwo rockets from the Gaza Strip were fired at Israel in the early hours of Monday morning, setting off sirens in Ashkelon and in areas surrounding the Strip. There were no reports of injuries or damage.

The incident came hours after Israel published the list of names of the 26 Palestinian prisoners set to be released on Tuesday — including five Gazans — as part of a deal to keep the US-brokered Israeli-Palestinian peace talks on track. All are convicted murderers.

On Sunday, two mortar shells from the Gaza Strip landed in Israel in the afternoon, the Israeli military said. There were no injuries or damage.

The shells fell at 1:30 p.m. in an open area in the Eshkol region in the western Negev.

The return to rocket fire came after several months of relative quiet. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Rocket fire from Gaza has mostly stemmed since an Israeli military offensive in November 2012 meant to stop near daily missile launches.

There are still sporadic rocket shootings, sometimes presented as responses to Israel Defense Forces action.

Last Monday, soldiers discovered a roadside bomb positioned along the border with the Gaza Strip and safely disposed of the device. No injuries or damage were caused in the incident.

That incident came a week after the IDF discovered and detonated a Hamas-built tunnel running east from the Gaza Strip into Israel. The tunnel was a recently discovered part of an excavation that was first revealed in November 2012, and contained several barrels of explosives.

Also last week, the army killed a suspected terrorist during a shootout in the West Bank. Islamic Jihad, which often shoots rockets out of the Strip, claimed Mohammed Aazi was a member of its organization.

Israel said he planned a Tel Aviv bus bombing last November that left over 20 people injured.

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