Rockets fired on Israel from Gaza on second day of Obama visit


JERUSALEM (JTA) — At least four rockets were fired from Gaza at southern Israel on the second day of President Obama’s visit to the region.

Two of the rockets fired Thursday morning landed in Sderot, damaging one home. The other two rockets are believed to have landed in Gaza.

The attack occurred hours before Obama traveled to Ramallah in the West Bank to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Obama condemned the attack.

"The Israeli response will come at the right place and the right time," an unnamed Israeli official was quoted as telling several Israeli newspapers shortly after the incident.

Later, the Israel Defense Forces and its Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories division announced that in response to the rocket fire, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Minister of Defense Moshe Yaalon instructed the IDF to narrow the permitted fishing zone for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip from six to three miles. and to close the Kerem Shalom crossing. 

"These changes will continue until the IDF is otherwise instructed by the political echelon," the IDF said in a statement,  

A small Islamist group called Magles Shoura al-Mujahddin claimed responsibility for the attack, according to Reuters. The group is opposed to Abbas’ policies vis a vis Israel.

It is the second attack on southern Israel since an Egyptian-brokered truce ended the Gaza conflict, Israel’s Pillar of Defense operation, in November. It was the second attack in a month.

"We condemn violence against civilians regardless of its source, including rocket firing," the official Palestinian Wafa news agency quoted Abbas as saying. "We are in favor of maintaining mutual and comprehensive calm in Gaza."

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