Palestinian child hurt in Israeli strike on Gaza following rocket fire during Sharon funeral

Rockets landed near Sycamore Ranch in Israel’s south, where the former prime minister was being buried; IDF retaliated with attacks on targets in central and southern Gaza.

Sharon's grave - AP

A worker prepares the grave for late Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who will be buried at his ranch in the northern Negev Desert, Israel, Jan. 12, 2014.

The Israel Defense Forces launched an aerial attack on central and south Gaza Strip on Monday evening, in retaliation for two rockets fired at southern Israel during former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s funeral.

A Palestinian toddler, 3, suffered light to moderate shrapnel wounds his face and body in the strike on central Gaza, Palestinian medical officials said.

The IDF said that Israeli aircraft targeted a military compound in central Gaza and a terrorist infrastructure in the southern part of the territory. The military identified precise hits, the IDF said, and all Israeli aircraft returned safely to base.

Palestinian sources said that the Israeli aircraft struck a number of targets including an Islamic Jihad training site.

Participants who attended the burial service at Sharon’s Negev home, Sycamore Ranch, reported hearing the explosions. The projectiles landed in an open area near the farm, which is within range of rockets from the Palestinian territory and has been absorbed fire nearby in the past. There were no casualties in Monday’s strike.

Two additional rockets were fired earlier Monday before the funeral, but neither appeared to have landed in Israel. Israeli media said the rockets were fired into the sea.

Some 1,500 people attended Sharon’s funeral, including President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and other international dignitaries.

Israel’s defense establishment had been preparing for the possibility that Gaza militants would try to disrupt the funeral with rocket fire. Southern District Police chief Maj. Gen. Yoram Halevy visited Anemone Hill, the site of Sharon’s burial, on Sunday during preparations for the service and said the police was prepared for any scenario – “from provocations by visitors to high trajectory fire from the Gaza Strip.”

“We are in the final stages of preparation, both at the local and national levels,” he said. “This is a national operation being undertaken by all the authorities: The police, IDF and the Prime Minister’s Office are involved. The final arrangements are being made at the burial plot and we are preparing for the arrival of guests from across the country.”

Israeli media reported that the Iron Dome anti-missile system was deployed near Sharon’s ranch ahead of the funeral to protect against rockets during the funeral, but the military declined to comment.

(Source / 13.01.2014)

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