Rockets fired from southern Israel near Gaza Strip

Feb. 15 (UPI) — Two rockets were fired Saturday from the Gaza strip at southern Israel, Israel’s military said Saturday.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage in the incident, which comes after a few days of relative quiet, though cross-fire attacks have increased overall in recent weeks.

According to the Times of Israel, resident outside the Kibbutz Kissufim community, just east of the Gaza border, reported hearing the sound of an explosion, prompting security forces to begin searching for impact sites.

The army later announced it had cancelled the revocation of about 500 permits allowing business owners to leave Gaza, since those retaliatory sanctions were only to be lifted in exchange for the cessation of attacks.

“The last thing I want is to send troops to Gaza … but if they don’t stop, they’ll have a very painful spring,” Israeli defense minister Naftali Bennett told an Israeli TV station, referring to Hamas and other armed groups in Gaza.

According to Israeli media, moments before the attack, Bennett had lauded a “dramatic decline” in rocket attacks since he took office in November, saying there was an 80 percent drop between the last three months before he took office and the first three months of his term.

The Times of Israel said it was not clear how he calculated that drop, as statistics from the Shin Bet security service said Bennett’s first two days in office saw hundreds of rockets fired at Israel, versus 13 rockets and mortar shells in the three months prior.

Earlier this week senior officials of the Palestinian Authority were targeted by a series of cyberattacks believed to have originated from the Gaza Strip.

On Feb. 8, Israeli tanks shelled two Hamas military posts in the northern Gaza Strip in what Israeli defense forces described as retaliation for a rocket launched toward Israel from Gaza.

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