Israeli airplanes were heard flying over Gaza Strip and residents braced for reprisal airstrikes after two rockets were fired into Israeli territory. No casualties were reported.
Air-raid sirens sounded in Tel Aviv on Thursday evening, as two missiles were registered incoming from the Gaza Strip. It was reported that Israel’s Iron Dome defense system shot down one of the missiles, while the other hit an open area. That was later denied by the Israeli military, RT’s Paula Slier reported from Tel Aviv.
The Israeli government has called for diplomats from Qatar and Egypt to leave Gaza “as soon as possible,” Slier reported, adding that Gaza is bracing for retaliatory airstrikes. Hamas, the Islamist movement that runs Gaza, has reportedly evacuated many of its buildings and declared an emergency.
Israeli media reported that Islamic Jihad, not Hamas, claimed responsibility for the rocket attack. Islamic Jihad quickly denied responsibility, says Slier. 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.
While no group claimed responsibility for the attack, Israeli Education Minister and member of security cabinet Naftali Bennett told RT he believes Hamas bears responsibility for the incident anyway.
“Hamas has been shooting rockets at the southern part of Israel for roughly a year now and now they shot two rockets at the Tel Aviv area. It’s time to defeat Hamas, it’s time to demilitarize the Gaza Strip,” he said.
Thursday’s incident is the first time since the 2014 war that rockets from Gaza have come anywhere near Tel Aviv.
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