Welcome 2024: Hamas fires barrage of rockets at central, southern Israel

As the clock shows midnight and ushers in 2024, Hamas fires heavy barrage of rockets from the Gaza Strip; air defense systems intercept multiple incoming threats

Hamas fires rocket volley at southern, central Israel at turn of new year
(Video: Reuters)

As the clock showed midnight and ushered in 2024, Hamas fired a heavy barrage of rockets from the Gaza Strip at central and southern Israel.
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An incoming air raid siren was heard in Sderot at precisely midnight, marking the start of 2024. Barrages to the central lowlands activated alerts in Rehovot, Ness Ziona, Be'er Yaakov, Rishon Lezion, Ramla, Lod, Holon, Bat Yam and Mikveh Israel. Alarms were also activated in the communities of Sha'ar HaNegev, Gezer, Brenner, Sdot Dan, Gan Raveh, and Mateh Yehuda regional councils, Holon, Azor, Gedera, and Modi'in.
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יירוטים בשמי גוש דן
יירוטים בשמי גוש דן
Air defenses shoot down incoming Gaza rockets over central Israel
The Iron Dome missile defense system shot down multiple incoming threats.
Following the barrage from Gaza, the Magen David Adom (MDA) ambulance service reported that there have been no immediate reports of casualties. "MDA teams have been dispatched to scan several locations," according to a statement.
The UK's Sunday Times reports that Britain is preparing to join the United States, and possibly another European country, in a planned missile attack against Houthi rebel targets in the Red Sea or in Yemen itself.
A government official in London told the newspaper that the planned attack may include the use of fighter jets of the Royal Air Force or the British destroyer Diamond, which is already operating in the Red Sea and intercepted earlier this month a UAV launched by the Houthis.
The report comes out the same day that 10 Houthi rebels were killed in a U.S. helicopter attack in the Red Sea, port officials in Yemen told the French news agency AFP. "Four survivors arrived in Hodeidah along with two wounded," said one of the sources on condition of anonymity. Earlier, the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) announced that helicopter gunships sank three Houthi rebel boats that attacked a ship that issued a distress call.
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הח'ותים על הספינה "גלקסי לידר" ליד חופי תימן
הח'ותים על הספינה "גלקסי לידר" ליד חופי תימן
A Houthi rebel sits on the bow of the ship "Galaxy Leader" near the coast of Yemen
(Photo: EPA/YAHYA ARHAB)
Meanwhile, the White House addressed the air strike by U.S. military helicopters in the Red Sea, and said that the U.S. is not interested in further expanding the conflict in the Middle East, CNN reported, noting that so far the U.S. has avoided direct damage to the militia operating in Yemen in an attempt to avoid a security escalation.
U.S. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby commented on the incident Sunday and said that the Americans will continue to act in self-defense. "We are not looking for a confrontation with the Houthis. The best outcome would be for them to stop these attacks, as we have made clear over and over," Kirby told the ABC network. "We have significant national security interests in the region, and we will deploy the forces we need in the region to protect these interests," added Kirby, noting that the White House does not rule out a pre-emptive strike. "We made it clear publicly to the Houthis and personally to our partners that we take the threats that are heard seriously, and we will make the decisions accordingly."
His comments came after the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, a pro-Iranian militia in the country, claimed responsibility for attacking a U.S. base near the airport in Erbil in northern Iraq using a UAV.
In the shadow of the escalation of attacks by the Houthis, Tehran's allies, including trying to take control of a merchant ship in the Red Sea, Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahiann threatened Israel. "We will respond with force to any Israeli aggression. Stopping Israeli ships in the Red Sea cannot be considered a threat while Jerusalem is committing crimes in Gaza," he said. Earlier, the spokesman of the Houthi army confirmed that the 10 Houthi militia fighters were killed, and said that the Houthis do not intend to stop their attacks, in order to impose a naval blockade on Israel.
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נשיא המדינה יצחק הרצוג פגישה עם מזכיר המדינה של ארה"ב אנתוני בלינקן בתל אביב
נשיא המדינה יצחק הרצוג פגישה עם מזכיר המדינה של ארה"ב אנתוני בלינקן בתל אביב
President Isaac Herzog calls on world leaders to work to free the Gaza hostages in an X post in 10 languages
(Photo: SAUL LOEB / POOL / AFP)
President Isaac Herzog posted a message on the X platform on Sunday afternoon in 10 languages calling for world leaders and people around the world to call and work for the immediate return of the hostages held by Hamas in Gaza. He posted: “As we enter 2024, I call on the entire family of nations, on all world leaders, to demand and work for the immediate, unconditional release of our 133 hostages. Babies, the elderly, women, men, are being held in brutal captivity by Hamas, without vital medication or visitation from the Red Cross. Their immediate release is at the core of our battle with Hamas terrorists in Gaza. May the light dispel the darkness, and may the New Year bring peace, hope, and healing for all."
Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General Naim Qassem commented on the international efforts to prevent an escalation on the Lebanese border, saying: "Israel makes many proposals related to northern Israel and southern Lebanon, and tries to show that it has ways to return the residents of the north to their homes and distance Hezbollah from southern Lebanon but it cannot impose its proposals" He added: "If Israel continues the attacks in Lebanon, the response will be stronger and appropriate to the Israeli attacks; Israel's threats have no value, we are ready."
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that Israel will not give up the security control over the Gaza Strip. Speaking at the weekly cabinet meeting Netanyahu said there is no need to discuss the day after the war until the war ends and the Strip is demilitarized. "Only the IDF can carry out this mission and we will not give up the right to control security control of the Strip," he said. "The question of the day after the war would be brought to the approval of the government when the time comes."
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רס"ל (במיל') ליאב סעדה ז"ל, רס"ם (במיל') אלירז גבאי ז"ל
רס"ל (במיל') ליאב סעדה ז"ל, רס"ם (במיל') אלירז גבאי ז"ל
Sergeant major (res.) Eliraz Gabai, Sergeant first class (res.) Liav Seada
(Photo: IDF)
The IDF named Sergeant first class (res.) Liav Seada and Sergeant major (res.) Eliraz Gabai as the latest fatalities among troops, in the fighting in Gaza.
British Foreign Secretary David Cameron said on Sunday he told Iranian his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian that Iran shared responsibility for Houthi attacks on vessels in the Red Sea.
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שר החוץ אלי כהן עם דיוויד קמרון שר החוץ של בריטניה סיור ב בארי
שר החוץ אלי כהן עם דיוויד קמרון שר החוץ של בריטניה סיור ב בארי
David Cameron during a visit to the Gaza border area earlier this month
(Photo: Alexander Ermochenko / Reuters )
On Sunday, the U.S. said its navy helicopters sank three Houthi small boats while the Iran-backed Yemeni rebels attempted to board Maersk Hangzhou - a cargo ship sailing of the coast of Al Hodeidah.
"I made clear that Iran shares responsibility for preventing these attacks, given their long-standing support to the Houthis," Cameron said in a post on social media site X, adding that the attacks "threaten innocent lives and the global economy."
The Qatari owned Al-Araby Al-Jadeed newspaper quoted a source close to the hostage negotiations who said the Gaza factions have not reached a decision on the proposed deal that would see the release of dozens of Israeli hostages in exchange for an extended truce. The paper said Hamas was demanding assurances that the fighting would not resume after the hostages are released.
According to the report, an Egyptian delegation traveled to Israel last week to discuss an end to the war. An Egyptian official told the paper that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears favoring war to continue and that Egypt working with Gaza factions to on unified Palestinian leadership for the Gaza Strip and the West Bank
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הצהרת נתניהו: "אנו ממשיכים להילחם עד חיסול החמאס ושחרור כל חטופינו"
הצהרת נתניהו: "אנו ממשיכים להילחם עד חיסול החמאס ושחרור כל חטופינו"
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
(Photo: GPO)
The IDF said on Sunday that it attacked terrorists firing at troops and hurling explosives, during a raid in the West Bank city of Tulkarm. The forces arrested dozens of terror suspects and confiscated weapons, the military said.
The U.S. Navy said it shot down two missiles headed toward a container ship in the southern Red Sea, launched from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen late on Saturday. A Singapore-flagged, Denmark-owned/operated container ship reported that it was struck by a missile and the USS Gravely and USS Laboon responded to the ship, CENTCOM said in a post on X.
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A person rides a motorcycle with a Palestinian flag waving through a square in Sana'a, Yemen
A person rides a motorcycle with a Palestinian flag waving through a square in Sana'a, Yemen
A person rides a motorcycle with a Palestinian flag waving through a square in Sana'a, Yemen
(Photo: Yahya Arhab / EPA)
While responding, the U.S. Navy destroyer Gravely shot down two anti-ship ballistic missiles fired from Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen, CENTCOM added. The vessel is reportedly seaworthy and there were no reported injuries, CENTCOM said.
First published: 06:57, 12.31.23
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