Two Rockets Fired From Gaza on Morning of Sharon’s Funeral
The Israel Defense Forces confirmed that two rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip on Monday, just hours ahead of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s funeral, Israeli daily Walla reported. The projectiles struck open fields, and according to the IDF, no injuries or damage was caused by the attacks, Walla said.
Sharon was buried at his family’s Sycamore Ranch in the Negev, an area which is often the target of rocket fire emanating from the Hamas-controlled territory.
The funeral ceremony for Israel’s 11th Prime Minister attracted worldwide attention. The expected attendance of such foreign dignitaries as U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair as well as delegations from 18 other countries including Russia, Germany and the Czech Republic caused the IDF to raise its alert level across Israel’s south.
Along with the deployment of the Iron Dome missile defense system, air surveillance was also increased and various early warning systems in the area were reinforced, Walla reported.
Reuters reported on Monday that Israel also warned the leadership in Gaza about the possibility of rocket attacks emanating from the Hamas-ruled territory at the time of Sharon’s funeral ceremony.
According to an Israeli defense official, “It was made clear to the Palestinians that it would be a very bad idea to test Israel’s patience,” Walla said.
Neither the Hamas government, other Palestinian terror groups operating in the Gaza Strip, nor the Egyptian authorities in charge of the Sinai Peninsula responded to the sternly worded message from Jerusalem.
Israeli police expected about 10,000 people to attend the funeral, according to Walla.