A total of five Code Red rocket alert sirens were activated in southern Israel late Thursday morning, sending residents of Gaza Belt and Ashkelon Coastal communities racing for their shelters.
Within seconds, Israeli war planes were in the air and heading south. They may still be there, searching for the rocket launchers from the skies over Gaza.
Israeli radio stations reported that Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization denied firing any rockets or missiles at Israeli communities.
At present it is not known how many rockets actually were fired from Gaza — or if, in fact, any were fired at all.
Security officials are continuing to report that have found no evidence of rockets that have landed or exploded upon impact anywhere in the areas where the Code Red alert activated. Police in the town of Lachish carried out a search for impact sites and also found nothing.
Unconfirmed reports immediately following the alert activations said that at least two rockets had landed somewhere in Israeli territory.
The IDF Spokesperson insisted that all five of the Code Red rocket alerts were “false alarms.” The statement that was duly reported by all Israeli radio stations — in one case, followed with considerable mirth from the radio hosts.
Leaders on both sides of the border are deeply invested in maintaining at least the image of a “calm” if not the actual reality.
Both Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon have said they would not tolerate “a drizzle of rocket fire” from Gaza, as has happened in the past.
Yet Tuesday night, the cease-fire was broken with a single Qassam rocket fired at the Eshkol Regional Council district – the first such attack since the end of Operation Protective Edge on August 26.