x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Rocket from Gaza hits southern Israel

A Qassam rocket and six mortar rounds hit southern Israel, the Israeli military said, with the rocket landing near the port city of Ashkelon.

A Qassam rocket and six mortar rounds hit southern Israel this morning, the Israeli military said, with the rocket landing near the southern Israeli port city of Ashkelon. A military spokeswoman said the Qassam had slammed into an open area just south of the city at around 1.30am local time, after which six mortar bombs landed in open areas near Gaza's northeastern border with Israel. "None of them caused any injury or damage," she said, indicating that 12 projectiles have been fired into southern Israel since Sunday morning. So far, no one has been hurt.

Israel police also confirmed that a rocket had landed near Ashkelon. "It exploded in a field without causing any injuries or damage," the police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said. The flurry of rocket and mortar fire came as the US secretary of state Hillary Clinton prepared to meet the Israeli and Palestinian leaders in Jerusalem to advance peace talks. It follows months of relative calm since Israel's devastating offensive against Gaza at the turn of 2008-9, which it said was aimed at stamping out rocket fire from the territory.

The conflict cost the lives of 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis. * AFP