JERUSALEM, Dec. 26 (Xinhua) -- A Qassam rocket was launched from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel on Thursday evening, Israeli Police spokesperson Mickey Rosenfeld confirmed to Xinhua.
This is the second missile launched from the Hamas-ruled enclave unto southern Israel in the past 24 hours as another missile hit in an open territory in the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council on the night between Wednesday and Thursday.
An alert system was set off following the launch and the sound of explosion was heard. There were no reports of casualties or damages and police believes the missile also landed in an open area and is scanning the perimeters of the local council.
Earlier on Thursday, the Israeli military continued to boost up its preparedness for an escalation in the fighting with Palestinian militants in the strip and boosted the air-defense systems known as Iron Dome anti-missile batteries, to protect communities from future missile attacks.
According to the Walla! news website the batteries were deployed overnight in southern Israel, in the cities of Ashdod, Be 'er Sheva and Ashkelon, following another battery stationed earlier on Wednesday near Sderot.
On Wednesday, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said while visiting a military drill in the West Bank that the Israeli military is preparing for possible escalation in hostilities with Palestinian Militants.
His statements came a day after a Defense Ministry employer was killed by a Gaza sniper while fixing the border fence which was damaged from a recent storm.
"We practice, and at the same time our eyes are watching the different sectors and the Gaza Strip after the incident which occurred on Tuesday and ended in a disaster," Ya'alon said, the Walla news website reported.
"We're preparing for a possibility of an escalation; there is a deployment of Iron Dome batteries, including another one in Sderot, " he added.
"We expect Hamas to impose its authority on its people. If it doesn't do so we will react as we did yesterday, in a strong manner," Ya'alon said, referring to the retaliatory Israeli Air Force raids in the strip on Tuesday following the deadly shooting, which resulted in the death of a 3 year-old girl and her father and several other injuries.
At least one Palestinian man was killed in the weekend while Palestinians who approached the fence were shot by Israeli soldiers. Other Palestinians hurled stones at a military post near the Gaza border.
A rocket was fired into Israel from the Gaza Strip overnight Sunday, hitting an open territory without injuries or damages reported.
There has been a relative calm between Israel and the Hamas-led Gaza Strip since its 8 days of fighting in November 2012, known as Operation Pillar of Defense.
According to Israeli security forces, the recent attacks may be caused by frustration due to the dire financial situation in the strip and the despair and conducted by small militant factions.