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Two rockets were fired at the Israeli city of Tel Aviv Thursday night, triggering air raid warning sirens, the country’s military said.

The Israel Defense Forces confirmed in a Hebrew-language tweet that two rockets were fired into Israeli territory from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. Israeli media initially reported that one of the rockets was intercepted by the country’s Iron Dome missile defense system. However, the IDF later said neither of the rockets was, adding that they landed in the sea or on open land.

People living in the area reported hearing an explosion in addition to the sirens. It was not clear what caused that explosion. No damage or casualties were reported.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened an urgent meeting with senior military officials, including his military chief and other top advisers, following the attack to plan a response.

Israel’s Channel 10 news, citing anonymous military officials, said the rockets were Iranian-made Fajr rockets. Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis, the Israeli army’s chief spokesman, said officials had no prior warning of the attack and were trying to determine who had fired the rockets. Israel holds Gaza’s Hamas rulers responsible for all fire out of the territory.

Tel Aviv has not been attacked by rocket or missile fire since a 2014 war with Hamas militants. There was no immediate claim of responsibility Thursday night, but the attack is likely to trigger a swift and firm reaction from Israel.

Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai said he had ordered the city to open public air raid shelters as a protective measure. But he said there were no special instructions and encouraged residents to stick to their daily routines.

“Continue life as usual,” he told Channel 10 TV. “Be calm, but be alert.”

In Washington, National Security Council spokesman Garrett Marquis condemned the rocket launches.

“Hamas and other terror groups indiscriminately fire rockets towards Israeli cities,” Marquis said. “Actions like this make it impossible for the international community to assist the Palestinians in Gaza. The United States strongly supports Israel’s right of self-defense.”

Earlier this week, Israel struck Hamas targets in Gaza in response to rocket fire on southern Israel, near the border. Late Thursday, local media said Egyptian mediators who were in Gaza trying to strengthen a cease-fire between Gaza militants and Israel left the territory.

Earlier this week, 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.

“I suggest to Hamas, don’t count on it,” he told his Cabinet. “We will do anything necessary to restore security and quiet to the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip and to the south in general.”

In addition to Hamas, the Gaza Strip is home to other militant groups, including Islamic Jihad, an Iranian-backed armed organization that also has a formidable rocket arsenal. Last month, the group boasted on Iranian television that Tehran had helped it develop a new missile capable of striking Tel Aviv, Israel’s second-most populous city and the Jewish state’s commercial and cultural capital.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. John Isbell

    March 15, 2019 at 9:23 am

    Here in America Jews do not believe in self defense. I hope there in Israel they do. If they are not united about self defense, Hamas will exploit and divide them. That will further weaken Israel and make it possible to defeat them.

  2. FAST EDDIE

    March 15, 2019 at 10:00 am

    For every missile fired into Israel, I pray Israel fires back 7 times as many.

  3. ON THE ROCK

    March 15, 2019 at 10:00 am

    IT STILL BAFFLES ME WHY SO MANY PEOPLE DISLIKE THE JEWS. AS FAR AS I KNOW, THEY ARE JUST HARD WORKING PEOPLE THAT WANT TO LIVE IN PEACE. MANY OF THEM DO BECOME SUCCESSFUL AND RICH FROM IT. I THINK OTHERS ARE JUST JEALOUS OF THEM. I BELIEVE IN ISRAEL’S RESPONSES TO ATTACKS–RETALIATE TWICE AS MUCH IN RETURN. STUPID HAMAS DOES NOT GET IT.

    • Eric M.

      March 15, 2019 at 6:01 pm

      @On The Rock – Go to Scripture and you will understand why. Satan hates God and wages war on His chosen people. They were chosen by God to bring light (His Word) to the world to set the example by which we are supposed to live and worship.

      Jesus said…They will hate you, but remember, they hated Me first. They will persecute you, but remember, they persecuted Me first.

      The hatred between the Arabs and the Jewish people all starts in the Old Testament with Abraham, Sarah and Hagar the Egyptian slave. That is why the Arabs recognize Ishmael as the first born of Abraham and not Isaac.

      This is not only a war of the flesh, but a spiritual war as well.

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