Israeli military accuses Hamas of firing rockets

Israeli military accuses Hamas of firing rockets

It's a first since Israel's 2014 campaign in Gaza.

Hamas denied responsibility for the initial rocket attack, saying it went against Palestinian interests.

The Israeli military says it struck 100 Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip overnight in response to rocket fire.

The Israeli military said it was targeting "terror sites" in Gaza, but gave no further details.

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

Witnesses claim to have heard powerful explosions from the air strikes which rocked buildings in Gaza and lit up the sky. But after a preliminary investigation, Israel said it had concluded that the militant group was behind the attack.

The escalation followed weeks of growing tensions and came at an especially sensitive time ahead of Israel's April 9 elections.

No damage or injuries were immediately reported following the Hamas rockets, but several Israelis were treated for shock.

After the rocket fire at Tel Aviv, the Israeli army said it was conducted by Hamas.

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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.

But Hamas denied responsibility and Israeli media, including Ha'aretz and Channel 7 News, later carried reports that the rockets might have been fired from Gaza by mistake.

Tel Aviv mayor Ron Huldai ordered public bomb shelters opened, and told local television that one of the Gaza rockets "apparently fell into the sea, the other hit somewhere but not in" the city.

Just after dawn, six more missiles were fired from Gaza toward Israeli border towns but all but one were intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome defense system, the military said.

The call came hours after the protest was cancelled for the first time in almost a year after Israeli jets hit the enclave on Thursday evening, following the launching of rockets at Tel Aviv.

These strikes came after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held an urgent "security consultation" with his defense chiefs in Tel Aviv late Thursday night.

Also Friday, a Hamas official said an agreement to restore calm has been reached.

Israel and Hamas are bitter enemies and have fought three wars since the Islamic terror organization seized power n a bloody 2007 coup in Gaza from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party. Hamas possesses a big arsenal of rockets and missiles, but it has sought to contain violence with Israel since the last war in 2014. The Egyptians left Gaza late Thursday.

Tens of thousands of Palestinians converge along the barrier that separates Gaza from Israel.

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