Rockets fired from Gaza at Tel Aviv, explosions heard: Israeli military, witnesses

15 March, 2019, 04:58 | Author: Carlos George
  • Air Raid Warning Sirens Go Off In Tel Aviv After Apparent Gaza Rocket Attack

Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired two rockets toward Tel Aviv late Thursday, the Israeli military said, marking a significant escalation that raised the likelihood of a harsh Israeli reprisal.

It was the first such attack on the city since the 2014 Gaza war between Hamas and Israel.

Initial reports indicated that the Iron Dome missile defense system was launched to intercept one of the incoming rockets.

The Iranian-made Fajr-5 rockets hit open areas, and no injuries or damage were reported, but a number of people were treated for symptoms of shock. However, the Israel Defense Force later said no interception had taken place, and it was not clear whether an interceptor had been launched.

Explosions were heard in the Gaza Strip early on Friday and Palestinian witnesses told Reuters that Israeli planes had bombed two Hamas security positions in the south and north of the territory.

The Israeli military is reporting air-raid sirens in southern Israel, signaling new rocket fire out of the Gaza Strip. Islamic Jihad quickly denied responsibility, says Slier.

However, that terror group also denied that it was behind the fire. Israel's military has responded with widespread airstrikes.

At the time, Netanyahu issued a warning to Hamas, rejecting suggestions that Israel would be reluctant to take tough action in Gaza ahead of national elections next month. "It is responsible for what happens within the Strip and what emanates from it".

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In a statement early Friday, the army said "we can confirm" that Hamas carried out the rocket attack.

A post on social media apparently showed two rockets streaking through the night sky above Tel Aviv. "OUTRAGEOUS!" Jason Greenblatt wrote on Twitter. We strongly support Israel in defense of its citizens.

The new wave of escalation near Israel's border with Gaza began last March, when Palestinian protests, dubbed the Great March of Return, kicked off.

The Israeli military has concluded that the militant Hamas group of Gaza fired two rockets toward the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv.

Netanyahu hopes to hold onto power in the upcoming poll, but his ruling Likud Party faces a serious challenge from Benny Gantz, a former chief of staff of the Israeli army.

Taking aggressive military action against Palestinians has always been a way for Israeli politicians to shore up support at home, or distract the Israeli public from other pressing domestic issues.

Cabinet Minister Naftali Bennett, a hardline rival of Netanyahu's, called on the prime minister to convene a gathering of his Security Cabinet and demand the army "present a plan to defeat Hamas".

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