Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists in Gaza broke their fragile ceasefire with Israel for the third time in less than 24 hours, firing rockets at the Ashkelon Industrial Area and Jewish communities in the Gaza Envelope at around 6:33 pm Sunday evening.
According to the IDF a single rocket was launched and landed in an open area in the Gaza Envelope. But Red Alert incoming rocket sirens sent hundreds of Israelis throughout the area racing for cover, not knowing where the projectile would land.
The rocket fire came less than a day after the IDF Home Front Command had decided to relax its restrictions and guidelines on Israeli communities located within 40 kilometers (25 miles) of the Gaza border.
Gaza terrorists initially violated the ceasefire less than 15 minutes after it went into effect on Saturday night, and then again an hour later, before silence reigned for the rest of the night.
As with Israel’s response to the first two violations, it is expected that the IDF will initiate a strong response to the rocket fire, with attacks on terrorist targets in Gaza sometime in the hours following the rocket fire.
A senior operative in the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group told Al Jazeera that the rocket was fired Sunday evening “as a result of a technical malfunction,” and that the group confirms its commitment to the ceasefire.”
The technical malfunction occurred either when a terrorist was attempting to disassemble the timer on the rocket, or because he fell asleep on it, according to Arab reports.
Arab media reported, nevertheless, that terrorists’ headquarters throughout Gaza were being evacuated in response to the launch, certain in the knowledge that the IDF would respond to the ceasefire violation.