January 4, 2023

Palestinian militants allegedly launch rocket at Israel after Ben-Gvir’s visit to al-Aqsa

Palestinian militants allegedly launch rocket at Israel after Ben-Gvir’s visit to al-Aqsa

By Biodun Busari 

Israeli military has said Gaza fired a rocket at southern Israel on Tuesday night following a visit of the National Security Minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir’s visit to al-Aqsa mosque. 

Ben-Gvir paid a morning visit to the flashpoint Temple Mount site, which shelters al-Aqsa Mosque, a development which has generated reactions across the globe, according to The Times of Israel. 

Israel said the launch from the Strip was among the retaliation threats from the coastal enclave’s rulers, the Hamas terror group.

Read also: Outrage as Israeli minister, Ben-Gvir visits al-Aqsa mosque  

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said the projectile landed short, inside the Strip, apparently causing no injuries or damage.

Incoming rocket sirens did not sound in Israeli communities as the rocket was projected by defense systems to land in the Hamas-run territory.

Israeli residents of towns near the border reported hearing a large explosion.

The IDF said there were no special instructions for residents following the rocket fire.

The rocket fire came after Hamas had warned that a visit by Ben Gvir to the Temple Mount would be a “detonator,” and vowed resistance.

But Ben Gvir and his party have repeatedly dismissed the Hamas threats.

The newly installed national security minister, who has long been accused of being a provocateur, yesterday, made several trips to the Temple Mount as an activist and Knesset member. 

He has also led contentious nationalist marches through the Muslim Quarter in Jerusalem’s Old City. 

On several occasions, he inaugurated an ad hoc office in East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, which has also been at the center of Israeli-Palestinian tensions, kindling unrest.

Ben Gvir is head of one of the three far-right parties in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s nascent coalition.

It was unclear if Israel was preparing a response against the failed rocket launch Tuesday. 

There was no immediate claim by any of the Gaza-based terror groups for the rocket fire.

The last time rockets were fired from the coastal enclave toward Israel was on December 3, apparently in response to the death of two Palestinian Islamic Jihad members during a West Bank raid.