The Hamas terror group welcomed in the new year by launching a wave of rockets towards southern and central Israel.
More than 20 rockets were launched at Israeli population centers just a few minutes after midnight, sending millions of people racing for shelter.
Sirens sounded in numerous locations in the center of the country, including Rehovot, Holon, Lod and Modiin, as well as Ashdod, Sderot and towns along the Gaza border.
The Iron Dome defense system intercepted most of the projectiles, with others landing in open areas.
There were no reports of injuries or damage.
The Israel Defense Forces had expressed cautious optimism earlier on Sunday in the wake of a decrease in the number of rockets launched from the Strip, as Jerusalem is reportedly preparing to allow some residents of the country’s southwestern region to return home.
The sharp drop in rocket attacks is a direct result of the IDF’s ground operation in Gaza, during which many launch sites have been destroyed, the military added.
According to IDF data, in the first week of December, after Hamas violated the hostages-for-ceasefire deal, 75 rockets were launched at Israel per day on average. Last week, that number dropped to 14.
The figure does not include mortars launched at ground troops operating inside the coastal enclave, rockets falling into the Mediterranean and failed rocket launches.
According to Israel’s Kan News public broadcaster, the IDF has initiated an “orderly process” to allow Israeli evacuees who live between four and seven kilometers (2.5-4.4 miles) from the Gaza border to voluntarily return to their homes.