Israel says it struck 100 Hamas targets after rocket attack

Remigio Civitarese
Marzo 17, 2019

One militant rocket attack killed a Palestinian worker in the West Bank, while Israel's strikes have killed at least seven Palestinians. "The IDF views any attempt to harm Israeli civilians with great severity, and will continue to operate with determination against these acts of terror", added the army.

Israeli retaliatory airstrikes continued through early Friday while sirens warning of incoming projectiles from Gaza sounded in southern Israel.

This is a breaking news story and is constantly being updated.

Warplanes could be heard flying overhead in Gaza City, where smoke from the explosions could be seen in the distance.

However, following the start of Israel's airstrikes against Gaza, the IDF confirmed via Twitter that the rockets were those of Hamas.

The escalation follows weeks of growing tension and comes at an especially sensitive time ahead of Israel's April 9 elections.

That salvo caused no casualties or damage, missing built-up areas.

Hamas, which typically claims responsibility for its military actions, denied involvement in the rocket attack on Tel Aviv and even said it had undermined its interests. Israel holds Gaza's Hamas rulers responsible for all fire out of the territory.

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

Tel Aviv and Rishon Lezion both announced they planned to open public shelters and reports from Gaza stated that Hamas had begun evacuating military posts, anticipating retaliatory strikes from Israel.

Netanyahu called an emergency meeting with top security officials, after which Israel mounted its response.

In the bustling coastal city of Tel Aviv, sirens wailed late Thursday in scenes reminiscent of the 2014 war between Israel and Gaza militants.

Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis, the chief Israeli military spokesman, said the army had been caught off guard by Thursday night's rocket barrage and had no advance intelligence.

Hamas possesses a vast arsenal of rockets and missiles, but it has sought to contain violence with Israel since the last war in 2014.

Also Friday, a Hamas official said an agreement to restore calm has been reached. The Egyptians left Gaza late on Thursday.

Netanyahu warned Sunday that Israel would not hesitate to launch a "large-scale operation" in Gaza if provoked.

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

Israel's Education Minister and security cabinet member Naftali Bennett urged: "The time has come to defeat Hamas and eliminate its leaders, I am calling on the prime minister to convene the cabinet and to force the IDF to present a plan for the destruction of Hamas".

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