Israel says Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired a rocket toward its southern territories
Jerusalem – The Israeli military said Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired a rocket into southern Israel on Saturday night.
The rocket fell and exploded in an open area, setting off warning sirens in the community of Nahal Oz, east of Gaza City.
No casualties or damage were reported. The Israeli military usually responds to such rocket fire with airstrikes in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, raising the possibility of violence just before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
The rocket attack comes a day before Israeli and Palestinian officials are due to meet in Egypt in a US-backed effort to ease violence that has been escalating, particularly in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, for nearly a year.
The meeting in the Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh is a continuation of the meeting held last month in Jordan for the same purpose. However, deadly Israeli attacks on the West Bank and Palestinian attacks continued after the February 26 meeting in Aqaba. In the bloodshed that has continued since then, 23 Palestinians and three Israelis have died.
Since the beginning of this year, 85 Palestinians have died in Israeli fire. Palestinian attacks on Israelis have killed 14 people in the same period.
According to the Associated Press, about half of the Palestinians killed this year were affiliated with militants. According to Israel, most of the dead were militants. But stone-throwing youths protesting the incursions, some in their teens and others not involved in the clashes, including three men in their 60s, have also been killed.
Nearly 150 Palestinians were killed in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 2022, making it the deadliest year in the territories since 2004, according to B’Tselem, a leading Israeli rights group. Palestinian attacks on Israelis killed 30 people during the same period.
Israel conquered the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem in the Middle East War of 1967. The Palestinians are looking for those areas for their future independent state.