Photo: Reuters
Rocket exploded in open area near Sderot
Photo: Reuters
Rockets continue to hit south, IDF refrains from response
While rockets continue to fall on Israel, IDF's response limited with no attacks on Gaza Strip; sirens sound overnight in Sderot, Shaar Hanegev, rocket explodes in Eshkol.

Residents of southern Israel once again woke up to the sound of sirens when the Color Red rocket alert blared in Sderot and Shaar Hanegev overnight Friday, followed by a rocket that exploded in an open area near Sderot. Another siren sounded in Eshkol Regional council on Saturday morning, after which a rocket exploded in an open area. No injuries were reported.



Breaking with past policy, the IDF or air force has yet to respond to the rocket fire and refrained from attacking the Gaza Strip during the night.


After rocket attacks on Israel, the IAF usually responds by targeting rocket launcher cells or terror infrastructure in Gaza Strip. However, in line with the message sent indirectly by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and government officials to Hamas Wednesday, according to which calm will be met with calm, the military has refrained from responding.


On Friday, the BBC reported that Israel and Hamas have reached a ceasefire agreement that would put an end to the recent escalation in southern Israel.


In the last 36 hours, the only attack carried out by the Israeli Air Force took place at 8pm on Friday, when the IDF Spokesperson Lt. Colonel Peter Lerner confirmed that 3 targets had been struck in the south of the Gaza Strip, in response to over 20 rockets fired on Israel from Gaza on Friday.


Following the attack, southern council leaders warned residents to stay within 15 seconds from bomb shelters. The instruction was withdrawn in the morning.


A rocket from Gaza landed in a Kibbutz in southern Israel Friday afternoon causing minor damage to several buildings while no injuries were reported as a result of the attack.


Exactly 27 rockets have so far been fired on Israel since midnight on Thursday.


More than five more rockets landed in open areas in the Eshkol Regional Council on Friday after the IAF response had already taken place on Friday.


Strengthening Defense

The IDF has increased over the past 24 hours the amount of interceptor missiles of the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system in the Gaza envelope, and made changes to their geographical layout due to concern that the rocket fire would continue throughout the weekend.


In addition, routine security forces in the Gaza envelope region increased their presence in the communities near the border.


Armored and infantry forces were sent to the Gaza Division, and are still waiting for the army's order to deploy additional forces south from central Israel and the Golan Heights.


In addition, the IDF has readied logistic defense measures in the Gaza division in the past day, so as to strengthen the defense from rocket fire and anti-tank missiles.


The IDF is also preparing to absorb large forces around the Gaza Strip. However, the military has continued to respond with restraint to the ongoing rocket attacks and is attempting to offer Hamas a ladder with which to climb down from the current round of tensions.


Beersheba Mayor Ruvik Danilovich strongly condemned the "no response" policy which Israel has recently adopted in the face of continued rocket fire into western Negev communities, saying that "a sovereign state must maintain its deterrent force and protect its citizens, all its citizens, everywhere.


"It is absurd that our response arrives only after missiles are fired into Beersheba, Ashdod or Tel Aviv. Rocket fire from terrorists towards residents of Sderot and the Gaza envelope is severe," a statement issued by the mayor said.


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