A radical Islamist Salafist group calling itself the Omar Brigades claimed responsibility for Saturday night's rocket attack fired at the Ashkelon region from Gaza, Israel Radio reported early on Sunday.
On social media, the twitter account thought to be that of the extremist Salafi brigades said that the rocket was fired in protest of brigade members who are being held in Gaza prisons, as well as those conducting hunger strikes in Israeli prisons.
According to Israel Radio, only hours before the rockets were fired, a Salafi leader called for continued rocket firings at Israel in order to disturb the relative calm.
The rocket triggered air raid sirens in the Ashkelon and Hof Ashkelon regions. Security forces said late Saturday that they had begun searching for the projectile, which apparently exploded in an open area.
The incident comes two days after the Israel Air Force struck Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip in retaliation for two Gazan rockets fired into the South, for which the Omar Brigades also claimed responsibility. The radical group said that it fired at Israel in response to Hamas killing an Islamic State supporter during a recent raid on his home.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon has said Israel holds Hamas responsible for anything that happens in the Gaza Strip.
At the end of May, Islamic Jihad fired a rocket that exploded in the Gan Yavne region, east of Ashdod, shattering four weeks of quiet and setting of air raid sirens in the Ashdod and Lachish regions.
Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman said Saturday evening that Israel cannot get used to rocket fire.
“There is no such thing as a trickle and there aren’t ‘rebel organizations’ [in Gaza],” Liberman wrote on Facebook. “There is only one meaning to the shooting of each rocket: Israeli citizens – men, women and children – cannot live normal lives. We cannot get used to that again, because getting used to it means we’re agreeing to it and a country that values its citizens cannot agree to this.”
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