JERUSALEM, June 11 (Xinhua) -- A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip exploded near a community in southern Israel on Wednesday morning, the military said, just hours after Israel's defense minister warned the army would respond forcefully to rocket fire from the Palestinian enclave.
There were no injuries in the rocket strike, which damaged a road next to the community, Israel's Ynet news website reported. Moments earlier, an air raid siren alerted residents of communities within range of the Gaza rockets to take shelter.
It was the second rocket launched from Gaza since a Palestinian unity government was announced last week. On Sunday, a rocket fired by militants reportedly exploded on the Palestinian side of the border.
While Israel has previously held Islamist group Hamas, which rules the enclave, accountable for the rocket fire, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said following the Fatah-Hamas unity agreement that he viewed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as directly responsible for any militant activity from Gaza.
On Tuesday night, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon and military chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, visited the army's Gaza Division, where Ya'alon said that Hamas had reached reconciliation with the Palestinian government in the West Bank out of a position of inferiority.
"Hamas has no better alternative but we should not be mistaken: It is preparing itself for a confrontation with Israel, is training forces and is stockpiling missiles and rockets. Currently it has thousands of projectiles aimed at Israel's cities," Ya'alon said in a statement.
The defense minister, who toured a Hamas underground tunnel recently discovered by the military, further stated that while it seemed that at the moment the group has no interest in a confrontation, Israel has to be ready for any eventuality.