IDF strikes Gaza in retaliation to rocket launch at Tel Aviv
15 March, 2019, 04:54 | Author: Trevor Moore
Israeli news media reported on rocket sirens blasting across Tel Aviv as well as the satellite cities of Ramat Gan, Givatayim, Bat Yam, Holon, Azor and Rishon Letzion.
It was the first time rockets were fired at Tel Aviv since Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014, though launches directed at residents of Israeli communities near Gaza have remain relatively frequent.
Israel's Channel 10 news, citing anonymous military officials, said the rockets were Iranian-made Fajr rockets.
Islamic Jihad and the Popular Resistance Committees, two smaller Gaza armed factions, also denied responsibility.
The heads of Gaza's ruling Hamas terrorist organization evacuated all of its headquarters in the enclave in anticipation of a likely military response to the attack by the Israel Defense Forces later in the evening.
Israeli retaliatory airstrikes continued through early Friday while sirens warning of incoming projectiles from Gaza sounded in southern Israel.
In an unusual step that indicated Hamas was attempting to prevent further escalation, the Hamas Interior Ministry said the rocket fire went "against the national consensus" and promised to take action against the perpetrators.
"Hamas violently suppresses its own people demonstrating against Hamas' rule & failures today and NOW fires rockets at cities in Israel".
Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis, the chief Israeli military spokesman, said the army had been caught off guard by Thursday night's rocket barrage.
No injuries were reported.
The attack Thursday night was the first time that Tel Aviv has been targeted since a 2014 war. "The time has come to defeat Hamas once and for all", he said.
Hamas denied involvement, saying the launches took place as its leaders met Egyptian delegates about efforts to secure a long-term ceasefire with Israel.
The attack prompted several municipalities in central Israel to open their public bomb shelters.
The Home Front Command did not give any special instructions to Israelis and said they could continue to carry on as normal.
Local media reports documented explosions in various sections of the Gaza Strip.
Israeli soldiers stand near a battery of the Iron Dome missile defense system deployed in Tel Aviv on January 24, 2019. The tensions further mounted in fall due to continued shelling and arson balloons launches from Gaza into the Israeli territory and Israeli strikes on Palestinian targets in response to these actions.
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