Published: Sun, March 17, 2019
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Sirens sound as missiles from Gaza target Israel

Sirens sound as missiles from Gaza target Israel

World Jewish Congress CEO and Executive Vice President Robert Singer voiced extreme concern on Thursday after two missiles were fired by Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip.

In response to the October launch, Israel struck 20 targets in Gaza, killing one Palestinian, according to the Hamas-run health ministry. The military said neither rocket was intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome military defense system, though warning systems had operated as required.

Israeli soldiers are seen on top of an armoured personnel carrier (APC) near the border between Israel and Gaza on its Israeli side, March 15, 2019.

This is a breaking news story and is constantly being updated. Though the attack caused no damage or injuries, it was a significant escalation and set the stage for a tough Israeli reprisal.

Hamas denied responsibility for the attack on Tel Aviv, saying the rockets were launched when the group's military wing was meeting with Egyptian mediators to try to strengthen a cease-fire between Gaza militants and Israel.

The wave of violence in Gaza erupted on 3 December after a Hamas commander was killed in a covert Israeli operation. "Israel holds Hamas responsible, hence the response".

Another was "the main manufacturing site of standard-grade rockets in the Gaza Strip", an underground location, it said.

"We hold Hamas responsible for all attacks launched from the territory under its control, and urge the worldwide community to publicly recognize that this offensive came unprovoked and that Israel has the full right to do whatever is required to safeguard the security of its residents and citizens", Singer said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rushed to the military headquarters in Tel Aviv and was conferring with senior army officials about a response.

On Thursday night, the sirens howled farther north, in Tel Aviv, Israel's commercial capital, set off by what the military said were two incoming, longer-range rockets from Gaza.

The escalation on Thursday followed a day of unrest in Gaza, where Hamas, the militant group that controls the Palestinian enclave, had forcibly put down demonstrations against deteriorating living conditions.

A Hamas official meanwhile said an agreement to restore calm has been reached after Egypt-led meditation efforts "that have apparently paid off". Both Hamas and Islamic Jihad have denied responsibility for the rockets.

Tens of thousands of Palestinians converge along the barrier that separates Gaza from Israel.

In addition to Hamas, Gaza is home to other militant groups.

Danon slammed Hamas saying it uses civilians "as human shields" and that "a terrorist organization that tries to harm Israel will encounter a relentless and uncompromising force".

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