Israel launches air strikes on Gaza Strip following first Tel Aviv attack in years

Israel launches air strikes on Gaza Strip following first Tel Aviv attack in years

The Israeli military announced on Twitter it focused its attack on 100 Hamas targets in Gaza, as they believe the Sunni-Islamist fundamentalist org

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The Israeli military announced on Twitter it focused its attack on 100 Hamas targets in Gaza, as they believe the Sunni-Islamist fundamentalist organisation to be behind the Tel Aviv aggression. The army said the air strikes targeted, among others, an office complex used to plan and command the group’s activities, an underground complex that served as its main-rocket manufacturing site, and a centre used for drone development. Witnesses living in the contended territory heard explosions in the early hours of Friday, with some Palestinians confirming Israeli warplanes had bombed Hamas security positions. 

Gaza’s health ministry said four Palestinians remained wounded during the raids.

Maher Abdullah, a programme officer at Save the Children charity, described the moments of fear his family lived during the air strikes.

He said: “My children were already asleep but then the heavy bombardments started and they woke up screaming.

“We tried to reassure them that it was thunder, but they know now that thunder doesn’t shake a whole building the way ours was. 

“What happened last night has happened many times and we fear for what will happen next.”

The attack was launched in response to rockets fired by Hamas in Tel Aviv, Israel said, a claim denied by the group.

Israel said the rockets, which caused no casualties or damage, were all intercepted, after they triggered air raid sirens across the city.

Resident Yonah Zeff said: “I heard the rocket and I heard the siren going off. It was a bit surprising, I didn’t think that, you know, it could really reach Tel Aviv.”

Hamas said the attack on Tel Aviv was launched as its military wing was meeting with Egyptian mediators to strengthen the ceasefire with Israel. 

And to take a further step away from the attack, Gaza’s interior ministry said the rockets have been launched “against the national consensus” and promised to take actions against those responsible.

Two smaller armed groups in Gaza, the Islamic Jihad and the Popular Resistance Committees, also denied any involvement in the attack.

Daoud Shihab, a spokesman for Islamic Jihad, said: “These accusations are mere lies by the Israeli occupation.

“Our movement and its military wing the Al-Quds Brigades did not fire any rockets”. 

But Israel continues to believe the group was behind the rocket launch.

Naftali Bennett, Israel’s education minister, called for action against Hamas, saying: “It’s time to defeat Hamas.

“It’s time to act unilaterally and demilitarise Hamas in order to defend Israeli citizens.”

The latest air strike comes as Israel is preparing to holding national elections in April.    

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