Four Qassam rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip on Saturday morning, hitting open areas in the Eshkol and Hof Ashkelon regional councils. There were no reports of injuries or damage.
The military wing of the Popular Resistance Committees claimed responsibility for three of the rockets fired into Israel in the morning hours.
The rockets were fired several hours after Israel Air Force jets attacked a terror target in the southern Gaza Strip on Friday night. According to the Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson's Office, the target was accurately hit. No additional details were available.
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IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Benny Gantz called in top army officials to evaluate the security situation as rockets continued to bombard southern communities Friday.
Around 10 pm, three rockets exploded in open areas near Sderot and in the Eshkol and Hof Ashkelon regional councils, bringing the total of rockets fired into Israel on Friday to a total of 12.
Deputy Chief of Staff Major General Yair Naveh and GOC Southern Command Tal Russo attended the meeting, as well as air force and naval commanders.
Army officials estimated that the Strip's two dominant organizations, Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, are keeping a low profile in the latest round of fire in order to avoid escalating the violence further. Instead, the smaller groups, including the Popular Resistance Committees and Fatah al-Islam – whose two members were killed in an IAF strike Thursday – are responsible for the attacks.
However, the IDF did not rule out the possibility that the larger groups will initiate fire on Israel, and is preparing to retaliate.
Iron Dome's coverage extended
Army officials noted that while in past rounds of violence the Iron Dome missile defense systems protected only large population centers like Beersheba, Ashdod and Ashkelon, this time the system's coverage extends to a larger area, due to a third battery that was placed in the region after undergoing repairs.
Intercepted rocket's tracks (Photo: Yael Krief)
The system intercepted one rocket that was fired towards Ashdod on Friday afternoon, while another exploded in the nearby Beer Tuvia Regional Council. Friday's barrage began in the morning with a Qassam exploding in the Shaar Hanegev Regional Council, and continued throughout the day, hitting open areas in the Hof Ashkelon and Eshkol regional councils, as well as near Sderot. No injuries or damage were reported.
Five rockets hit the southern region on Thursday evening. Overnight, The IDF carried out a strike against two targets in the Gaza Strip, which Palestinian reports claim left one person dead.
Gaza sources said that a Hamas training camp near Gaza city was hit in the strike and that shrapnel hit nearby residential buildings. One person was killed and 25 others, mostly women and children, were wounded as a result.
Ilana Curiel and Elior Levy contributed to this report
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