A security officer inspects the damage after a rocket strike at a community close to the Gaza border overnight Friday

Calm returns to southern Israel after weekend of Gaza rocket fire

Schools bordering Strip open on schedule, with special session for students to discuss recent violence; Israel passes messages to Hamas that it wants de-escalation; clashes between police and Arab protesters resume in Jerusalem

Ynet |
Updated: 04.25.21 , 09:39
Israeli communities close to the Gaza border saw a quiet night Saturday after a weekend of heavy rocket fire from the Strip.
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  • Following security consultations, Israel decided to allow schools in the south to open as usual on Sunday, with a period at the start of the day dedicated to conversations with students about their experiences during the weekend of attacks.
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    נפילה בעוטף עזה
    נפילה בעוטף עזה
    A security officer inspects the damage after a rocket strike at a community close to the Gaza border overnight Friday
    (Photo: Roee Idan)
    A rocket launched from Gaza at the southern city of Sderot at around 9pm Saturday was intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system. Another rocket launched close to midnight fell just across the border fence and into Israel.
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    יירוט כיפת ברזל לאחר ירי לעבר שדרות
    יירוט כיפת ברזל לאחר ירי לעבר שדרות
    The Iron Dome missile defense system intercepts a Gaza rocket over the city of Sderot of Sderot on Saturday night
    (Photo: Reuters)
    Meanwhile clashes continued Saturday night between police and Arab protesters in Jerusalem, after days of similar confrontations.
    The clashes were apparently triggered by a police decision to close off a plaza outside the Damascus Gate entrance to the Old City, where Arab residents of the capital traditionally gather during Ramadan.
    The IDF did not respond to the latest launches from Gaza, after carrying out airstrikes on Hamas targets in ton Saturday in response to the dozens of rockets that were fired overnight Friday.
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    Palestinians in Gaza burn Israeli flags during a protest Saturday over tensions in Jerusalem
    Palestinians in Gaza burn Israeli flags during a protest Saturday over tensions in Jerusalem
    Palestinians in Gaza burn Israeli flags during a protest Saturday over tensions in Jerusalem
    (Photo: Reuters)
    While the terror group that controls Gaza did not claim responsibility for the rocket fire, on Saturday morning its fighters fired test rockets into the sea, saying they were working on improving military capabilities.
    Two people were treated at Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon during the rocket attacks Saturday night, with an 18-year-old young woman hospitalized for trauma and a 21-year-old man for injuries he sustained while running for a bomb shelter.
    Throughout Saturday evening, approximately 1,000 Gaza residents protested close to the border fence in support of the protesters in Jerusalem, burning tires and throwing stones.
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    הפגנות בעזה
    הפגנות בעזה
    Palestinians protest in Gaza on Saturday over the tensions in Jerusalem
    (Photo: EPA)
    Israeli officials attempted to ease tensions with Hamas over the weekend, using diplomatic channels in Egypt, Jordan and the UN to deliver the message that the country is committed to allowing freedom of worship in Jerusalem and does not want an escalation in violence.
    Hamas also indicated that it too prefers to see the tensions ease.
    Tensions were still high in Jerusalem on Saturday night, where hundreds of young people clashed with police forces in the area of the Damascus Gate.
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    עימותים עם מפגינים בשער הפרחים
    עימותים עם מפגינים בשער הפרחים
    Security forces arrest a protester outside the Old City of Jerusalem on Saturday night
    (Photo: Yoav Dudkevitch)
    The clashes led to the arrests of 17 people for alleged offences including assaulting police officers, throwing stones and hurtling Molotov cocktails.
    Police responded by firing stun grenades and using mounted officers to disperse the crowds.
    At the Qalandiya Crossing between Jerusalem and the West Bank city of Ramallah, Border Police troops faced off Saturday night against some 100 rioters who threw Molotov cocktails and stones and set off fireworks.
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    Palestinian protesters gesture next to burning tires during clashes with Israeli security forces at the Hawara checkpoint in the West Bank on Saturday night
    Palestinian protesters gesture next to burning tires during clashes with Israeli security forces at the Hawara checkpoint in the West Bank on Saturday night
    Palestinian protesters gesture next to burning tires during clashes with Israeli security forces at the Hawara checkpoint in the West Bank on Saturday night
    (Photo: AFP)
    Similar clashes took place in other parts of the West Bank, including Hebron and the village of Hawara near Nablus.
    Several police officers were wounded in the riots.
    First published: 08:25 , 04.25.21
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