Seven rockets, reports the Israeli army, were launched early this morning from Gaza, two directed towards the sea and five towards Israeli areas close to the Strip where the alarm sirens had sounded shortly before. All of them – according to the same source – exploded in the air. Last night two other rockets were launched from the Strip: according to a military spokesman, the first fell back into the Strip while the second near the separation barrier with Israel where the first evening of Pesach, the Jewish Passover, is being celebrated.
The launches came after the second round of clashes at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, the third holiest site in Islam where Israeli police clashed with Palestinians yesterday, sparking an exchange of airstrikes and new clashes, during the period of Passover and Muslim Ramadan. At dawn yesterday, Israeli police in riot gear stormed the prayer hall of the Al-Aqsa mosque, aiming to drive out “law-breaking youths and agitators” who, they say, they had barricaded themselves inside. Palestinians responded with a barrage of rocks and fireworks at the officers and more than 350 people were arrested. Incidents also occurred in northern Israel in Umm el Fahem, a predominantly Arab town.