A rocket fired at Israel from Gaza caused heavy damage to a house in Sderot Thursday morning, Israel Radio reported. Police rushed to the scene to inspect the damage and to determine if there were any injuries.
Two Red Alert warning signals were heard in southern Israel Thursday morning, as U.S. President Barack H. Obama prepared to depart Jerusalem for Ramallah for meetings with top Palestinian Authority officials. One was heard in Sderot, and the second was heard in the Sha'ar Hanegev area near the Gaza border, Israel Radio said.
There was no confirmation of damage from the second rocket. Police are investigating. Two other attacks were reported, but the rockets apparently fell on the Gaza side of the border fence.
Currently southern Israel is not being defended by the Iron Dome system, which under normal circumstances might have been used to deflect a missile coming into a residential area. However, the Iron Dome system that is usually deployed in southern Israel was moved to Ben Gurion Airport, where it was reviewed by Obama. The President had originally been set to review the system at its usual deployment site, but due to his tight schedule the IDF decided to move the battery to Ben Gurion for Obama's inspection.
Obama is set to visit Ramallah today for talks with top PA officials. Israeli analysts said that the rockets fired at Israel Thursday morning were apparently a message for Obama from Hamas - that no matter what the results of his talks with PA chief Mahmoud Abbas, nothing can be accomplished in the PA without Hamas' say-so.