Israel fires on Hamas targets after rocket attacks

Israel has said its aircraft have hit Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip after rockets were fired at Tel Aviv from the Palestinian enclave. It was the first time Tel Aviv has come under such attack since a 2014 war.

Israeli warplanes on Friday bombed some 100 targets belonging to the Islamist militant group Hamas in the Gaza Strip in reprisal for rockets fired from the Palestinian territory, the Israeli military has said.

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The army said the targets included a rocket manufacturing site, a naval post described as a weapons depot and an office complex in Gaza City that the military said was the headquarters for Hamas' militant activities. Gaza Health Ministry officials said a couple was injured when their house in the southern town of Rafah was damaged.

Two of the rockets launched from Gaza had targeted the Israeli economic capital, Tel Aviv — the first such attack since a 2014 war between Israel and Gaza militants.

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Further rounds of rockets were launched into Israel following the reprisal attacks. The Israeli military said several of them were intercepted by its air defense systems. No injuries were reported on the Israeli side.

Hamas denied responsibility for the initial rocket attack and promised to take action against the perpetrators, saying such attacks went "against the national consensus." Israel said a preliminary investigation had concluded that the group was behind the rocket fire.

Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since 2007, when the Islamist militant group took control of Gaza, a coastal strip that is home to 2 million Palestinians.

The current flare in violence comes ahead of Israeli national elections in which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could face heavy criticism from opponents if he is seen as ineffective in preventing Palestinian militant attacks.

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tj/sms (AP, Reuters, AFP)

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