Code red rocket alerts sounded in southern Israel

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — At least five Code Red rocket alerts sounded in southern Israeli communities.

The sirens that sounded on Thursday were deemed false alarms by the Israel Defense Forces, according to reports.

Israel Radio reported, however, that two rockets landed in the Hof Ashkelon region, and area residents reported hearing explosions.

The alerts come two days after a mortar shell fired from Gaza struck southern Israel, the first such rocket attack since a cease-fire was declared three weeks ago in Israel’s 50-day Gaza operation.

Prior to the sirens, Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon during a meeting in the Eshkol Regional Council on the border with Gaza, said Israel would not accept even a drizzle of rocket fire from Gaza.

Also on Thursday, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said fighting between Israel and Hamas will begin again if the closure on Gaza is not lifted and reconstruction not begun.

Negotiations between Israel and Hamas are expected to begin next week before Rosh Hashanah, according to reports.