Rockets Fired from Gaza at Tel Aviv, Explosions Heard

Minnie Murray
March 15, 2019

Prime Minister / Defense Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened an emergency security meeting at the IDF Kirya military headquarters in Tel Aviv Thursday night following a rocket attack fired at central Israel from Gaza.

As well as the strip's rulers, Hamas, other armed factions operate in the territory, including Islamic Jihad, an Iranian-backed organisation that has launched rockets in the past.

Reuters journalists heard explosions, but it was unclear whether they were caused by the rockets or the interceptor missiles fired by Israel's Iron Dome system.

There were no immediate reports of any casualties or damages.

Minutes later, the Israeli military reported air raid sirens in southern Israel.

Hamas's so-called military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, not only denied it was behind the rocket launchings but said the attacks on Israel came while Hamas members were meeting with Egyptian officials over the Gaza truce.

It was the first time sirens had sounded in the city since the 2014 Gaza war between the territory's dominant Hamas Islamists and Israel. Earlier in the evening, sources said the terror group had claimed responsibility for the attacks; that report was later found to be false.

"Hamas violently suppresses its own people demonstrating against Hamas' rule & failures today and NOW fires rockets at cities in Israel". So did Hamas, apparently, with a group's official telling Israeli media that Hamas is "not interested in an escalation" and does not know who fired the two rockets.

Harsh sirens rang out across the streets as citizens were warned of the first missile attacks since 2014. But he said there were no special instructions and encouraged residents to stick to their daily routines.

Israel's municipality announced that public bomb shelters in the Tel Aviv area would be opened. It said it had identified a launch attempt out of Gaza, but the rocket misfired and landed inside Palestinian territory. Israel is holding national elections in less than a month.

"I'd suggest to Hamas - don't count on it".

As tensions have risen in Gaza over Israel's lethal response to weekly protests at the frontier during the past year, militants in the enclave have fired hundreds of projectiles into surrounding areas, although not as far north as Tel Aviv. "We'll do whatever is necessary to return the peace and quiet to the Gaza border communities, and the entire south".

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