For the first time since Operation Pillar of Defense in November, a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip struck Israel on Tuesday. There were no injuries.
The rocket fired at Ashkelon was of the advanced Grad type, which can reach up to 80 kilometers (50 miles). The rocket was fired from the Rafah area of the southern Gaza Strip.
It is the first time a rocket has been fired at Israel since the end of Operation Pillar of Defense three months ago. The Fatah military wing, the Al-Aqsa Brigades, claimed responsibility, saying the attack was a response to the “assassination” in prison of Arafat Jaradat. A top official in the Palestinian Authority security apparatus told Israel Hayom that a rocket launch from the Gaza Strip could only have taken place with a “green light” from Hamas.
“This was not normal,” Yair Farjoun, head of the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council, said about Tuesday’s rocket attack. “Since Pillar of Defense, there had been absolute quiet in the region.”
Referring to the rocket attack, Israeli President Shimon Peres said “Israel has an interest in preserving the quiet, and so does Hamas.”
Since the end of Operation Pillar of Defense, a number of rockets have been launched from Gaza, but all exploded inside Gaza without reaching Israel.