Gaza border protests called off after Israel air raids - organizers

Gaza border protests called off after Israel air raids - organizers

A cross-border escalation between Israel and Gaza's ruling Hamas group wound down on Friday after a rare rocket attack on Tel Aviv from the Palestinian territory triggered scores of retaliatory strikes by the Israeli military.

The Israeli army said Friday morning that its war planes struck about 100 Hamas targets in Gaza Strip Thursday overnight after two rockets were fired at Tel Aviv.

In addition, an underground compound to produce rockets was destroyed, several military compounds were attacked as well as a Hamas naval post which is also used to manufacture weapons, the IDF spokesperson reported.

More than 40 locations were targeted with about 100 strikes, the source said.

Israel said a preliminary investigation had concluded that the group was behind the rocket fire.

Smoke and flame are seen during an Israeli air strike in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, March 15, 2019. Israeli media reported that their initial assessment was that the group launched the rockets by mistake.

This is the first attack on Tel Aviv since the 2014 Gaza war between Hamas and Israel. No casualties were reported.

In October 2018, a rocket fired by Palestinians in Gaza fell into the sea off Tel Aviv and another hit the southern city of Beersheba.

Gaza border protests called off after Israel air raids - organizers

The officials were quoted Friday in Israeli media.

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.

A security official briefed on the situation, who declined to be identified by name or nationality, told Reuters the launch was "the result of an error - that an attack on Israel was not intended".

Prior to that the last attacks on the Tel Aviv area came during the July 2014 war between Israel and Gaza militants.

"In keeping with the public interest, the commission has chose to exceptionally postpone its activities scheduled for this day", the body which organizes the protests said in a statement. Israel holds Gaza's Hamas rulers responsible for all fire out of the territory.

According to Gaza's health ministry, a man and a woman were seriously injured when a missile hit a house in the southern town of Rafah. The Iran-backed Al-Sabareen terrorist group in Gaza has yet to release an official statement following the rocket attacks.

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

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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