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Projectile fired from Gaza lands in open area in southern Israel

March 15, 2017 10:41 P.M. (Updated: March 16, 2017 10:07 A.M.)
(File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A projectile was reportedly fired from the besieged Gaza Strip on Wednesday evening, landing in an open area in southern Israel, Israeli forces said.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that a “projectile was fired from the Gaza Strip” and landed in the Sdot Negev regional council, causing no injuries.

The spokesperson added that Israeli forces were searching the area.

There have been several instances of shells being fired from the blockaded coastal territory into Israel since the beginning of the year, without causing any casualties.

Earlier this month, the Israeli army shelled several sites in the southern Gaza Strip, in what locals suspected was in retaliation for rocket shells that were fired towards Israel from Gaza the night before.

The Israeli army targeted multiple sites across the besieged Gaza Strip with airstrikes and artillery fire in late February, leaving at least four Palestinians injured, hours after an Israeli army spokesperson said that a rocket fired from Gaza landed in an open area in southern Israel, causing no injuries or damages.

On Feb. 9, Gaza's Ministry of Health claimed that two Palestinians were killed and five were injured as a result of an airstrike on a smuggling tunnel between Egypt and Gaza, though an Israeli army spokesperson denied involvement in the incident.

The Gaza-based al-Mezan Center for Human Rights expressed concern in February in response to Israeli airstrikes that Israel could be leading up to a wide-scale military offensive.

The rights group called on the international community to “act promptly against Israel’s military escalation, to fulfill their obligations to protect civilians, and ensure respect for the rules of international law,” stressing that “acting before a full-scale military bombardment is launched is crucial to ensuring the protection of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip.”

Israeli officials have accused Hamas, Gaza's de facto leaders, of "preparing" for another war with Israel and have threatened retaliatory measures against the Gaza Strip as a whole, while Israeli authorities hold Hamas responsible for all attacks against Israeli targets coming from the Gaza Strip.

However, Hamas has not claimed responsibility for any rocket attacks since a ceasefire was declared after Israel’s devastating war in Gaza in 2014, and the movement has attempted to clamp down on armed activity by smaller political groups that do launch rockets from the territory.
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