Israeli warplanes strike Gaza after rockets fired toward Tel Aviv

Evarado Alatorre
Marcha 17, 2019

The attacks are seen as a retaliation against earlier strikes from Israeli military aircraft, which bombed Hamas facilities in the Gaza Strip. The army said targets included an office complex in Gaza City used to plan and command Hamas militant activities, an underground complex that served as Hamas' main rocket-manufacturing site and a centre used for Hamas drone development.

The Israeli army said the Hamas is responsible for all events transpiring in the Gaza Strip and emanating from it.

Israel holds Hamas responsible for any rocket fire from Gaza, even if carried out by smaller groups outside direct Hamas control, a policy reiterated by Israel after the overnight strikes.

It is the beginning of one of the worst escalations in years, with hundreds of rockets and mortars fired at Israel and dozens of Israeli strikes against Gaza positions. Israeli media suggested that the terror group might have resorted to the rocket attack on Israel in order to divert attention away from the rising civilian turmoil.

Hamas denied responsibility for the attack on Tel Aviv, saying the rockets were launched when the group's military wing was meeting with the Egyptian mediators.

No damage or injuries were reported.

Tel Aviv's Iron Dome missile defense system was activated during the attack and intercepted at least one rocket.

The wave of violence in Gaza erupted on 3 December after a Hamas commander was killed in a covert Israeli operation.

Israeli warplanes strike Gaza after rockets fired toward Tel Aviv
Israeli warplanes strike Gaza after rockets fired toward Tel Aviv

Shortly before the rocket attack, Hamas police on Thursday violently broke up a rare protest by demonstrators angry about the dire living conditions in Gaza.

A security official briefed on the situation, who declined to be identified by name or nationality, told Reuters the launch was "the result of an error - that an attack on Israel was not intended".

But Israel's military said they were launched by Hamas.

In Gaza, health officials reported four people wounded, including a husband and wife in the southern town of Rafah.

Pompeo also defended the administration's work toward a denuclearization deal with North Korea, saying real progress was made in Hanoi even though a final agreement was not reached.

This is the first time that rockets from Gaza Strip were fired toward Tel Avi, Israeli financial center of Israel, since a major conflict in 2014.

Prior to that the last attacks on the Tel Aviv area came during the July 2014 war between Israel and Gaza militants. But Hamas denied any involvement with the escalation, as did Islamic Jihad.

More than 2,100 Palestinians were killed in Gaza during that war, a lot of them civilians, along with 66 Israeli soldiers and seven civilians in Israel.

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