Rocket fired at southern Israel from Gaza following Israeli aircraft strike for drone 'attack'


At least one rocket was fired from the Gaza Strip at southern Israel on Sunday night, landing on the Gaza side just shy of the border, during a weekend that saw a string of violent incidents in the area.

“A failed launch was spotted from the Gaza Strip. It did not cross into Israeli territory,” the army said, as the Times of Israel reported.

The attempted strike came as an Egyptian military intelligence delegation visited Gaza on Sunday to try calming heightened tensions between Israel and the Gaza Strip.

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In the past, Egypt has helped broker unofficial ceasefires between Israel and the terror group Hamas, which has run Gaza since 2007.

On Saturday night, Israeli officials said their aircraft hit several military targets belonging Gaza’s Hamas rulers, after militants used a drone to drop a bomb on the Israeli side of the Gaza-Israel perimeter fence earlier in the day.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) tweeted on Saturday, “An armed drone launched from Gaza dropped an explosive on an IDF vehicle earlier today. In response, we just struck a number of Hamas targets, including offensive naval equipment and 2 military compounds in Gaza. We hold Hamas responsible.”

An army vehicle near the fence was lightly damaged, but the IDF did not specify if the explosive detonated.

There were no reports of Israeli or Palestinian injuries.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had threatened Hamas with a forceful response to the alleged drone attack, which appeared to be the first attempt to carry out an attack with a drone piloted from Gaza.

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In a statement, Netanyahu said, “Hamas is responsible for everything coming out of Gaza and all attacks will be met with a vigorous response.”

Hamas was known to be developing a drone program and has used it before for reconnaissance missions over the frontier and into Israel.

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Israeli border police officers in the village of Azzun near the West Bank city of Qalqilya on Saturday. 

Israeli border police officers in the village of Azzun near the West Bank city of Qalqilya on Saturday. 
(AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

Also on Saturday, an Israeli father and son were stabbed in the northern West Bank, near the town of Qalqilya, by a Palestinian, the Israeli military said. The 17-year-old son was in a serious but stable condition, according to Israeli medical services. The father’s condition was not immediately known.

Israeli border police officers in the village of Azzun after an Israeli father and son were stabbed. 

Israeli border police officers in the village of Azzun after an Israeli father and son were stabbed. 
(AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

The day before, Israeli forces shot and killed two Gaza teenagers, 17 and 14, after what the IDF called “especially violent” riots broke out during protests along the volatile perimeter fence.

Relatives mourning the death of the 14-year-old Palestinian teenager Saturday. 

Relatives mourning the death of the 14-year-old Palestinian teenager Saturday. 
(AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

The IDF said more than 6,000 Palestinians took part in the weekly “March of Return,” including hundreds who rioted, with some allegedly throwing a large number of explosive devices, hand grenades and firebombs at the fence and Israeli soldiers.

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Militants in Gaza fired five projectiles into Israel on Friday night as an apparent retaliatory action.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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