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Israel PM convenes military brass after apparent rocket fire

AP  |  Jerusalem 

Palestinian militants in the Strip fired two rockets toward late Thursday, the said, marking a significant escalation that raised the likelihood of a harsh Israeli reprisal.

The rocket barrage triggered air raid sirens throughout the city, Israel's densely populated commercial and cultural capital.

No damage or were reported. But it marked the first time that Tel Aviv, some 80 kilometres north of Gaza, has been targeted by rocket fire since a 2014 war with militants.

Israeli rushed to the military headquarters in and was conferring with senior army officials to discuss a response.

In Gaza, there was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Ronen Manelis, the Israeli army's chief spokesman, said officials had no prior warning of the attack and were trying to determine who had fired the rockets. holds Gaza's rulers responsible for all fire out of the territory.

said he had ordered the city to open public air raid shelters as a protective measure. But he said there were no special instructions and encouraged residents to stick to their daily routines.

"Continue life as usual," he told Channel 10 TV. "Be calm, but be alert." is controlled by Hamas, an Islamic militant group that seeks Israel's destruction. and have fought three wars since sized control of Gaza in 2007.

Hamas possesses a vast arsenal of rockets and missiles, but it has sought to contain violence with since the last war in 2014.

Earlier this week, Israel struck Hamas targets in Gaza in response to rocket fire on southern Israel, near the border. Late Thursday, said Egyptian mediators who were in Gaza trying to strengthen a cease-fire between Gaza militants and Israel left the territory.

In addition to Hamas, Gaza is home to other militant groups. They include Salafists inspired by the Islamic State group, as well as Islamic Jihad, an Iranian-backed armed organization that also possesses a formidable rocket arsenal.

Earlier this week, Israeli issued a warning to Hamas, rejecting suggestions that Israel would be reluctant to take tough action in Gaza ahead of national elections next month.

"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 and to the south in general.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, March 15 2019. 02:40 IST
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