A few hours after Russia called on Hamas to stop firing rockets into Israel, a Qassam launched from northern Gaza Thursday evening exploded in an open area within the Ashkelon Beach Regional Council's limits.
There were no reports of injury or damage in the rocket attack. The 'Color Red' rocket alert sounded before the Qassam hit.
The attack followed two days of calm in the area surrounding the Gaza Strip. The last rocket to hit Israel's southern region was fired on Monday, Passover eve.
According to a report published Thursday by the Shin Bet there has been a significant rise in the number of attacks on Israel emanating from Gaza.
The report said 36 attacks in the Gaza area included 25 rockets, five mortar shells, five shooting attacks and one anti-tank missile attack. In March, 35 rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip into Israel and six mortar shells, compared to five rockets and five shells in February.
Earlier Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal in a phone conversation that the Islamist group must stop the "unconscionable firing of rockets from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel."
Mashaal said that the Hamas leadership has decided to "maintain the calm, and is not interested in escalating the tension. He promised that his organization would take "appropriate measures to prevent the rocket fire from Gaza."