Gaza rocket into Israel breaks 2-month lull

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JERUSALEM — Palestinian militants fired a rocket into southern Israel early Saturday, shattering a two-month lull in violence at the Gaza-Israel border in contrast to soaring tensions in the occupied West Bank.

The Israeli military said aerial defense systems intercepted the projectile, which activated warning sirens in the southern coastal city of Ashkelon. No casualties were reported.

Hours later, Israeli aircraft carried out a series of airstrikes on four military sites for Hamas, the militant group that rules Gaza. Social media videos showed smoke rising from the targets camps in eastern Gaza City and central Gaza Strip.

No Palestinian group claimed responsibility for the rocket fire but the Israeli military blamed Hamas.

An Israeli military raid in the West Bank early Friday, in which three Palestinian militants were killed and eight wounded, could have triggered the rocket attack from Gaza.

Also on Friday, an Israeli observation balloon crashed and fell in northern Gaza Strip. Although the Israeli military confirmed that it is investigating, the Israeli military also stated that the balloon wasn’t downed in the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli military has been carrying out near-daily raids in the occupied West Bank since a string of attacks earlier this year killed 19 people in Israel. Numerous raids were launched around Jenin (the hometown of many of the attackers) in an effort to arrest them.

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