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Rocket lands in settlement bloc near Jerusalem

Nov. 16, 2012 4:50 A.M. (Updated: Nov. 17, 2012 6:46 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli police are searching Jerusalem environs for the remains of rockets that Hamas says its armed wing fired toward the city of Jerusalem late Friday.

The al-Qassam Brigades said it fired two homemade missiles toward Jerusalem and a long-range missile at the Israeli Knesset in the city.

There were no immediate reports of injury or damage after air raid sirens were heard in Jerusalem and nearby towns near Bethlehem.

A Ma'an reporter in Bethlehem, which is south of Jerusalem, observed a trail from a rocket above the city shortly before a blast was heard.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told Ma'an that the rocket landed in the area of Gush Etzion, a bloc of illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Rosenfeld said police received a number of reports of explosions from residents in the area but did not discover the wreckage.

Eyewitnesses said they saw rockets fall on south Jerusalem-area settlement Gilo and Gush Etzion.

Southeast of Bethlehem, residents of Kisan village said rockets landed around 100 meters from their homes, resulting in some damage to the houses.

In Kisan, the mayor of Palestinian district Tekoa Hatim Sabah said a large Israeli police force and explosive experts were near the site that villagers said the rocket fell. Israeli ambulances also arrived at the settlement Noqdim, adjacent to Kisan, where Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman lives.

A Ma'an reporter in Ramallah said sirens rang out near Ofer military jail where Palestinian protesters were clashing with Israeli forces, leading to the retreat of soldiers from the area.

It was the first Palestinian rocket since 1970 to reach the vicinity of the city. The al-Qassam Brigades have named the long-range missile the M75, in honor of assassinated Hamas founder Ibrahim al-Maqadma and its range in kilometers.

Rockets nearly hit Tel Aviv on Thursday for the first time since Saddam Hussein's Iraq fired them during the 1991 Gulf War. An air raid siren rang out on Friday when the commercial center was targeted again. Motorists crouched next to cars, many with their hands protecting their heads, while pedestrians scurried for cover in building stairwells.
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