Rocket fired at south in second such attack from Gaza in 24 hours

Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip fired a rocket at southern Israel late Saturday night, the Israel Defense Forces said, in the second such attack from the enclave in less than 24 hours, raising the specter of renewed conflict.

The rocket was intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system shortly after 9 p.m.

There were no reports of injuries or damage in the attack.

The Saturday night rocket attack came soon after Israel captured two more Islamic Jihad security prisoners who escaped from a high-security prison on Monday, after arresting two others the day before.

This also comes a day after Qatar’s envoy to Gaza said that efforts to send aid from his country to the Gaza Strip, including to employees of the Hamas government, had failed after the Palestinian Authority backed out of the deal.

Shortly after 11 p.m. on Friday, Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip fired a single rocket towards Israel that was intercepted by the Iron Dome system, the army said.

The rocket triggered warning sirens in the Eshkol region and local residents reported hearing several explosions. There were no reports of injuries or damage.

After a rocket was fired toward Israel, a fireball rises following an air strike in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, in the early hours of September 11, 2021. (Said Khatib/AFP)

In response to the rocket fire, the IDF carried out strikes on terror targets in the Gaza Strip in the early hours of Saturday morning, the military said.

The IDF said that it struck a Hamas position used to carry out machine gun fire, and a storage site located near a school and mosques. There were no further details given on what the IDF believed was stored at the facility.

The IDF also said that it hit a compound used to produce the concrete used to build the terror group’s underground tunnel network, which is said to be located near cultural sites. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

In the statement, the IDF reiterated that it holds Hamas responsible for all terror activities in the enclave.

Qatar pledged $500 million for Gaza following the May 10-21 conflict that saw heavy bombardments in the Strip and intense rocket fire into Israel.

The collapse of the deal was expected to further inflame tensions between Israel and Hamas, which has frequently stepped up provocations in a bid to pressure Israel to allow in money.

The rocket was likely fired by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, coming just after Israel announced it had caught two Islamic Jihad fugitives who broke out of the Gilboa prison on Monday along with four other security prisoners.

Palestinians attends a rally in solidarity to the escape of the six Palestinian prisoners from the Israeli prison of Gilboa, on September 8, 2021, in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

Qatari envoy Mohammed al-Emadi said that the deal was off because a mechanism agreed earlier in the week where Palestinian Authority banks would transfer the money to Hamas employees was no longer an option.

He said that the banks had refused to take part, fearing they could be targeted by sanctions for transferring money to a terror group.

The issue of the civil servants had been a sticking point in setting up a mechanism to transfer the money. On Monday, al-Emadi said that the issue had been resolved “following an agreement by the different parties.”

The report came as Channel 12 news quotes sources close to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett as saying that Israel sees a new round of violence with Hamas as a foregone conclusion — possibly within weeks — and was completing drawing up military plans.

The report said that Israel wanted to deal with Hamas on its own terms and at a time of its choosing, and not be drawn into a conflict that would suit the terror group.

Qatari support is considered a crucial lifeline for impoverished Palestinians living in Gaza, which has been under Israeli blockade since 2007, the year the Hamas terror group took power.

Israel, which still allows many goods into the Strip, views the blockade as a necessary measure to keep terror groups from being able to freely arm themselves and present a much greater threat.

Before the latest Gaza conflict between Israel and Hamas-led fighters in May, the flow of funds from Qatar was considered vital to maintaining relative calm between the Jewish state and the Islamists.

But Israel has said that it was opposed to a resumption of the funding under the terms that existed before May’s hostilities, claiming that money was being used by armed groups rather than strictly for humanitarian needs.

Times of Israel staff and Agencies contributed to this report.

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