A rocket was reportedly fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip on Friday evening (local time), August 16, and was intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system over southern Israel. Rocket sirens notably sounded and explosions were heard over Sderot and surrounding Sha'ar HaNegev Regional Council; no casualties or damages were immediately reported.
The rocket fire was preceded by the weekly Palestinian demonstrations on the Israeli-Gazan border. Thousands of Palestinians reportedly participated in the August 16 protests, with some throwing rocks and explosive devices at Israeli troops; for their part, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers fired tear gas and live ammunition at the Palestinian demonstrators, wounding 38, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza.
Similar protests and clashes are to be expected along the Israeli-Gazan border over the coming weeks. Additional Palestinian rocket launches targeting Israel are possible over the coming hours and days, as well as retaliatory Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip.
Palestinians have staged weekly protests at the Israeli-Gazan border fence since March 30, 2018. Over 300 Palestinians have been killed and thousands have been wounded since the "Great March of Return" protest movement began, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza.
In general, rocket fire and strikes between Israel and the Gaza Strip have intensified since early December 2017. Hundreds of rockets and mortars have been fired from the Gaza Strip, often followed by retaliatory Israeli airstrikes.
Individuals in Israel and the Palestinian Territories are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all protests due to the risk of violence, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments. Seek immediate shelter in the event of a rocket attack.
Some Western governments advise their citizens against all travel to the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and areas near the Israeli-Lebanese, Israeli-Syrian, and Israeli-Egyptian borders.