Gaza rocket hits Israel, IDF tank fires at Hamas position in response Sirens blare in south as projectile explodes in field, causing no casualties; earlier rocket launched from Strip fell short of border

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Rockets seen flying over central Israel on the fifth day of Operation Protective Edge, July 12, 2014. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)
Rockets seen flying over central Israel on the fifth day of Operation Protective Edge, July 12, 2014. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

Alert sirens sounded Wednesday evening in a number of Gaza border communities as a rocket launched from the Strip exploded in an open field in southern Israel.

The projectile reportedly fell in the area of the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council. There were no reports of damage or injuries in the attack.In response, an Israeli tank opened fire on a Hamas position in the southern Gaza Strip, the IDF said in a statement.Earlier in the evening, a rocket fired from northern Gaza toward Israel failed to clear the border and landed inside the coastal strip, according to reports in Hebrew-language media. There were no reports of damage or casualties in that incident.

On Wednesday morning, the Home Front Command tested emergency alert sirens in Jerusalem and some nearby communities.

Ahead of the test, the IDF said that its system tests and exercises are not connected to any particular incident and are often scheduled months in advance.

Explosions in the northern Gaza Strip from Israeli airstrikes light up the night sky on January 22, 2019. (Screen capture: Channel 13)

January saw two rockets launched from Gaza into Israel, neither of which caused damage or injuries. In both cases on January 7 and 12 the IDF responded with strikes in Gaza.

On Saturday, Channel 12 news reported that Israel has warned Hamas it could launch a military campaign unless violence at the Gaza border ends, irrespective of the upcoming April 9 election.

The military holds Hamas, which is the de facto ruler in Gaza and a terror group sworn to Israel’s destruction, responsible for any attacks from the Strip.

For the past several months, Egypt, the UN and Qatar have worked to preserve calm in Gaza and prevent flareups between Israel and terror groups in the Strip.

Since last March, the Gaza border has seen large-scale weekly clashes on Fridays, smaller protests along the northern Gaza border on Tuesdays, as well as periodic flareups between the Israeli military and Palestinian terror organizations.

On Friday, the IDF said some 10,000 Palestinians took part in violent protests along the border, burning tires and hurling rocks and explosive devices at Israeli soldiers. Troops responded to the demonstrators with tear gas and live fire.