Rocket fired into Israel from Gaza

For the second time this week, a rocket was fired into southern Israel from Gaza.

The rocket was launched at 23:00 local time and landed in an open area in the Hof Ashkelon region. No injuries or damage were reported. Rocket warning sirens were not sounded as it was assessed that the rocket would not harm civilians. Israeli soldiers subsequently searched the area for rocket fragments.

No group has claimed responsibility for the two attacks this week, although small Salafi jihadist groups based in the Gaza Strip have previously claimed responsibility for similar attacks.

Israel holds Hamas responsible for all attacks, as the de facto ruling power in Gaza. After Monday’s rocket strike, Israel hit five strategic Hamas targets in Gaza. There has been no Israeli response yet to last night’s attack but Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said earlier this week that “we respond to all fire at our territory”.

Hamas responded, saying that it “won’t stand by in the face of continued Israeli aggression”. Hamas recently appointed Yahya Sinwar as its leader in the Gaza Strip. There has been speculation that Sinwar, who is considered a hardline leader of Hamas’ military wing, will be more likely to increase military tension and confrontation with Israel.

Herzl Halevi, head of IDF Military Intelligence yesterday gave evidence to a private session of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee. He is reported to have said that neither Hamas, nor Hezbollah are seeking a confrontation with Israel at this point. But he warned that the two terror groups could cooperate in the future. Halevi said Gaza is close to economic crisis under Hamas’ leadership and this could spark a future conflict.