A short while after the alarm was sounded, residents of the area reported hearing blasts.
Two Grad rockets exploded in the Ashdod area, one of them near a residential neighborhood and another further away. A rocket alert was also sounded in Ashkelon, but the city was apparently not hit. No injuries or damage have been reported so far.
IDF sources told Ynet that the rockets were fired from the outskirts of Beit Lahiya, in the northern Gaza Strip. The fire came from al-Atatra neighborhood, a residential area.
'Rocket fired from residential area' (Photo: Shmulik David)
A number of video clips were published earlier this week of terrorists firing rockets from areas populated with civilians in order to make it more difficult for the army to respond.
Earlier this week Ashdod hosted a conference on rocket fire in which IDF officials predicted that Hamas would enforce relative calm in the region. The group repeatedly requested a lull following numerous airstrikes in Gaza, which were sparked by continuous rocket fire at Israel.
However IDF officials say they do not believe Hamas was responsible for the fire. Smaller terror groups like Islamic Jihad and the Popular Resistance Committees have previously gone against the will of Gaza's rulers and fired at Israel despite declared truces.
"We will not tolerate any fire towards Israel," a military source told Ynet Friday. However, it did not appear likely that the IDF would retaliate so close to Passover eve.
"We will retain the right to respond and know how and when to make clear that this is unacceptable," the source said, adding that it made no difference if Hamas had fired the rockets or not. "Hamas is responsible," he reiterated.
But Ashdod Mayor Yehiel Lasri was understandably unconvinced Friday. "Predictions and reality are separate things," he said Friday after the rocket fire.
"This continuous fire puts us in a vicious cycle of drizzling rockets. We expect the government of Israel and the IDF to act accordingly and stop this fire. We cannot go on like this."
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