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JERUSALEM —The Israeli army stated Thursday night that two rockets have been fired from Gaza towards Tel Aviv, prompting sirens to sound all through the town and placing stress on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — who faces reelection in lower than a month — to mount a robust response.

Residents reported listening to explosions, however there have been no experiences of accidents or harm. The army stated neither rocket was intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome army protection system, although warning programs had operated as required.

One rocket in all probability fell into the ocean, Tel Aviv’s mayor, Ron Huldai, instructed Israeli tv. He stated he had instructed the town to open all bomb shelters, however life seemed to be returning to regular shortly after the incident. 

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Netanyahu referred to as an emergency assembly with high safety officers.

Whereas rocket launches from Gaza are usually not uncommon, it was the primary time in additional than 4 years that they’ve focused the main metropolis of Tel Aviv. Israel and Hamas fought a 50-day battle in the summertime of 2014.

The escalation on Thursday adopted a day of unrest in Gaza, the place Hamas, the militant group that controls the Palestinian enclave, had forcibly put down demonstrations in opposition to dwelling situations. Some analysts speculated that Hamas may need been attempting to trigger a distraction.

Others pointed the finger at Islamic Jihad, the second largest militant group in Gaza, saying the group could have been attempting to disrupt efforts by Egypt to dealer a truce between Hamas and Israel. An Egyptian delegation had arrived in Gaza on Thursday night.

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Islamic Jihad denied that it was behind the assault. Hamas additionally denied duty, declaring the assault passed off on the similar time the group’s leaders have been assembly with Egyptian officers to debate the cease-fire. No group instantly claimed duty.

Benjamin Netanyahu wearing a suit and tie: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, March 10, 2019. Gali Tibbon/Pool via REUTERS/© Pool New/Reuters
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cupboard assembly in Jerusalem, March 10, 2019. Gali Tibbon/Pool by way of REUTERS/

Netanyahu final yr was criticized by members of his personal authorities coalition for being gentle on Hamas by agreeing to a cease-fire with that group after a spate of rocket assaults from Gaza towards communities in southern Israel. His political opponents have additionally criticized Netanyahu’s choice to permit Qatar to ship $15 million a month into Gaza to pay salaries of Hamas civil servants.

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Yaakov Amidror, a retired main common and former nationwide safety adviser, stated he believed Netanyahu was “skilled and sober sufficient” that electoral stress wouldn’t be a consider figuring out his response. “There is no such thing as a actual argument within the Jewish group about the necessity to react,” he stated on a convention name with journalists. 

Israel usually holds Hamas answerable for any violence emanating from Gaza, no matter which group perpetrated the assault.

President Trump’s particular envoy to the Center East, Jason Greenblatt, reacted on Twitter, saying, “Hamas violently suppresses its personal individuals demonstrating in opposition to Hamas’ rule & failures right now and NOW fires rockets at cities in Israel. OUTRAGEOUS!”

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Hazem Balousha in Gaza Metropolis contributed to this report.

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