JERUSALEM (AP) — The Israeli military said Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired a rocket into southern Israel on Saturday evening.
The rocket landed and exploded in an open area, setting off alarm sirens in the Nahal Oz community east of Gaza City.
There were no reports of casualties or damage. The Israeli military usually responds to such rocket fire with air strikes in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, raising the possibility of further violence just before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
The rocket attack comes a day before Israeli and Palestinian officials are due to meet in Egypt in a US-backed effort to defuse violence that has soared especially in the West Bank and East Jerusalem for nearly a year.
The meeting in the Red Sea resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh follows on from last month’s meeting in Jordan with the same purpose. However, deadly Israeli incursions into the West Bank and Palestinian attacks have continued since the February 26 meeting in Aqaba. Since then, twenty-three Palestinians and three Israelis have been killed in the ongoing massacre.
Since the beginning of this year, 85 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire. Palestinian attacks on Israelis killed 14 people in the same period.
According to a tally by the Associated Press, about half of the Palestinians killed this year were affiliated with militant groups. Israel says most of the dead were militants. But young stone-throwers protesting the raids, some in their early teens, and others not involved in the clashes, including three men over the age of 60, were also killed.
Nearly 150 Palestinians were killed in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 2022, making it the deadliest year in those areas since 2004, according to leading Israeli rights group B’Tselem. Palestinian attacks on Israelis during the same period killed 30 people.
Israel conquered the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war. Palestinians seek those territories for their future independent state.