Israel says Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired a rocket towards its southern territories
JERUSALEM — The Israeli military said Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired a rocket into southern Israel on Saturday evening.
The rocket landed and exploded in an open area, triggering 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 further 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 as part of a US-backed effort to defuse violence that has flared up particularly in the West Bank and East Jerusalem for almost a year.
The meeting in the seaside city of Sharm el-Sheikh follows last month’s meeting in Jordan for the same purpose. However, deadly Israeli raids in the West Bank and Palestinian attacks have continued since the February 26 meeting in Aqaba. Twenty-three Palestinians and three Israelis have been killed in the ongoing bloodshed since then.
Since the beginning of this year, 85 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire. Palestinian attacks on Israelis killed 14 people during the same period.
According to an Associated Press tally, about half of the Palestinians killed this year were affiliated with militant groups. Israel says most of the dead were militants. But young rock-throwers protesting the incursions, some in their early teens and others not involved in the clashes, including three men over 60, were also killed.
Nearly 150 Palestinians were killed in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 2022, making it the deadliest year in those areas since 2004, according to leading Israeli rights group B’Tselem. Palestinian attacks on Israelis during the same period killed 30 people.
Israel captured the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East War. The Palestinians seek these territories for their future independent state.