Middle East

Lightning strikes accidentally triggered Hamas rocket attack, Israel concludes

  • The bizarre theory has reportedly been accepted by the Israeli security cabinet
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 24 October, 2018, 7:27am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 24 October, 2018, 7:27am

A theory that a lightning strike triggered Palestinian rocket fire from Gaza last week gained traction in Israel on Tuesday and might explain the Israeli military’s limited response.

Two rockets were launched from the Hamas-ruled enclave on October 17. But the group took the unusual step of denying it had carried out an attack. Israeli cabinet minister Tzachi Hanegbi said there was reason to believe that was true.

One of the rockets wrecked a house in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba, causing no casualties, the other landed in the Mediterranean Sea. Israel responded with air strikes that killed a militant in Gaza.

But soon afterwards, video appeared on social media showing lightning illuminating the night sky in Gaza and then two flaming rockets streaking into the air.

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Israel’s bestselling daily, Yedioth Ahronoth, reported on Tuesday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s security cabinet now believed the lightning set off a launch mechanism.

As far as we know, Hamas did not intend to fire those rockets
Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked

Asked about the report, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, a member of the security cabinet, told Israel Radio: “I won’t discuss security cabinet meetings and I don’t know which ministers are chatting with journalists, but I can say that as far as we know, Hamas did not intend to fire those rockets.”

Hamas officials had no immediate comment.

The rocket launches coincided with Egyptian efforts to broker a long-term ceasefire between Hamas and Israel, which have fought three wars in the past 10 years.