Seven mortar shells were fired from the Gaza Strip on Thursday morning. Most of them landed between the Kerem Shalom crossing and a community in the Eshkol Regional Council. There were no reports of injuries or damage. Three additional shells landed in Gaza.
The Popular Resistance Committees' military wing, the Salah al-Din Brigades, claimed responsibility for the firing.
The firing began at around 7:45 am. Three mortar shells landed near the Kerem Shalom crossing, and another on Palestinian territory. One shell hit the Eshkol Regional Council. A second barrage was fired shortly afterwards, with two shells landing in the Eshkol Regional Council.
Immediately after the firing, the residents of Kibbutz Kerem Shalom were asked to enter fortified area, where they stayed for about half an hour. One of the residents told Ynet, "I hope this is only a specific incident, but we are not so naïve to believe that there won't be another battle. In any event, this is routine."
Kibbutz secretary Zohar Ronen told Ynet, "We are always prepared. Not so long ago it was our daily routine, so we are unfazed by this morning."
An Israel Defense Forces official said the army held an evaluation of the situation following the incidents and decided to close the Kerem Shalom crossing to traffic.
Southern Command Chief Major-General Yoav Galant and southern council heads toured the area the day before the firing incident. Galant noted that the state of calm in the area was temporary and that stormy cloud could be seen in the horizon.
Eshkol Regional Council head Haim Yalin said that "there is no clam here, and there are battles all the time." He added that the council was operating on two tracks: Developing the region and preparing for the next conflict.
Last Friday, two mortar shells
were fired from Gaza towards the Sdot Negev and Eshkol regional councils. One of the shells hit an open area, while the other landed on Palestinian territory near Kerem Shalom.
Another mortar shell exploded Monday near the border fence, opposite a community in the Ashkelon Coast Regional Council.
A regional commander of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) was killed
Tuesday night and four others wounded in an Israeli airstrike in the northern Gaza Strip town of Khan Younis, Palestinian sources identified the man as Jihad Smyre,.