Gaza rockets strike near Sharon burial place

Israel buried Sharon in his family farm with celebrations of his military achievements

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Gaza militants fired two rockets which struck an area near the family farm where former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon was buried on Monday, a military spokeswoman said.

“Two projectiles landed in an open area in the Shaar HaNegev region,” the spokeswoman told AFP, referring to the area around the northern border with Gaza, without specifying exactly where they struck.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the projectiles had targeted the town of Sderot, which lies very close to the Gaza border, and just four kilometers (2.5 miles) west of Sycamore Ranch, causing no injuries or damage, according to AFP.

Given the ranch's proximity to the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, the Israeli police and army had beefed up security in the area, with unconfirmed media reports saying the military had deployed a battery of the Iron Dome missile defense system to counter possible rocket attacks.

Israel buried Sharon on Monday, celebrating the military achievements of a man seen as a war hero at home but as a war criminal by many in the Arab world.

Eulogized first in a ceremony in Jerusalem, and later in the green fields of his southern estate, a stream of speakers hailed a life entwined with that of his country, while gently alluding to the controversies that also defined his career.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and former British prime minister Tony Blair laid wreaths at his grave, 10 Km (6 miles) from the border of the Gaza strip, with the army on high alert lest any rockets be fired out of the Palestinian territory.

The army said two missiles were shot into southern Israel shortly after the funeral ended, causing no damage or injury.

"We are accompanying to his final resting place today a soldier, an exceptional soldier, a commander who knew how to win," Israeli President Shimon Peres said in Jerusalem, Sharon's hefty coffin draped in Israel's blue and white flag.

Sharon, 85, died on Saturday after spending the last eight years of his life motionless in a hospital bed, pitched into a coma by a stroke and far from the public gaze.

The death of the ex-general reopened debate into his legacy. Foes denounced his ruthless conduct in military operations while friends praised him as a strategic genius who as prime minister stunned the world in 2005 by pulling Israeli troops and settlers out of the Gaza Strip - a Palestinian territory in the south.

[With AFP and Reuters]

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