2 rockets fired on Israel, Gaza braces for reprisal


Prime Minister / Defense Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened an emergency security meeting at the IDF Kirya military headquarters in Tel Aviv Thursday night following a rocket attack fired at central Israel from Gaza. Video broadcast on Israeli TV showed two Israeli interceptor missiles streaking into the sky above Tel Aviv, Israel's commercial capital, and detonating. But it marked the first time that Tel Aviv, some 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of Gaza, has been targeted by rocket fire since a 2014 war with Gaza militants.

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

Both Hamas and Islamic Jihad - the two Gaza terror groups responsible for previous rocket fire on Israel - denied carrying out the strikes.

IDF Home Front Command said in a statement on Galei Tzahal Army Radio Thursday night that "for the time being, residents should maintain their daily routine as usual".

Meanwhile, moments after the IDF launched air raid against alleged Hamas targets in Gaza the alarm sirens went off in the southern part of Israel, signalizing possible Palestinian shelling.

Notably, the Hamas said earlier in a statement, quoted by Reuters, they were "not responsible for the firing of the rockets tonight towards the enemy". It said there were no reports of casualties or damage. So did Hamas, apparently, with a group's official telling Israeli media that Hamas is "not interested in an escalation" and does not know who fired the two rockets. Late Thursday, local media said that Egyptian mediators left the territory.

The rocket attacks came as Hamas and Egypt were discussing a long-term truce with Israel for the Gaza Strip. Islamic Jihad quickly denied responsibility, says Slier.

"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".