Rockets fired at southern Israel from Gaza on Sunday morning may have been triggered by a lightning storm, according to local media reports.
Israeli defense officials were quoted as saying that the rockets, which were already armed and aimed at Israeli targets, were set off by a lightning strike rather than a deliberate command.
Photos published by AFP appear to show a lightning strike inside Gaza with the trail of a rocket seen in the sky nearby, suggesting a connection.
A similar incident occurred in October 2018, when rockets from Gaza destroyed a home in Beersheva, and in March 2019 when several Israelis where injured by an attack in central Israel.
“In both of these cases, which came amid periods of heightened tensions, lightning was alleged to be the trigger for the launch, setting off rockets that had been preemptively aimed and primed at central Israel,” according to the Times of Israel.
However, Finance Minister Yisrael Katz was unpersuaded. “We don’t accept these ‘terror excuses’ and won’t allow any fire into Israel,” he told Army Radio. “Hamas is responsible for any fire out of the Strip.”
The IDF said on Sunday evening that it determined the two projectiles from Gaza were launched from a Hamas site, not Islamic Jihad.
According to Ynet, Hamas sent a message to Israel disavowing any intentional attack, leaving open the possibility that lightning had indeed struck.