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Israel strikes Gaza after rockets fired at Tel Aviv

Israeli warplanes attacked targets in the southern Gaza Strip. [Getty]

Date of publication: 15 March, 2019

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Hamas denied responsibility for the attack on Tel Aviv, saying the rockets were launched when the group's military wing was meeting with Egyptian mediators to strengthen a cease-fire with Israel.

The Israeli military said on Friday it had carried out strikes in Gaza in response to earlier rocket fire from the besieged Palestinian enclave.

"We have just started striking terror sites in Gaza," the Israel Defense Forces said on Twitter.

The strikes have significantly damaged positions of the military wing of Hamas, which governs Gaza, and their ally Islamic Jihad, a Gaza security source told AFP

However, no injuries have been reported so far.

The blasts were so powerful that smoke could be seen in Gaza City, 25 kilometres away from some of the strikes. The Israeli warplanes could be heard roaring through the skies above Gaza City.

The attack comes just hours after the army said two rockets were launched towards the greater Tel Aviv district Thursday night.

Hamas denied responsibility for the attack on Tel Aviv, saying the rockets were launched when the group's military wing was meeting with Egyptian mediators to try to strengthen a cease-fire with Israel.

In an unusual step that indicated Hamas was attempting to prevent further escalation, the Hamas Interior Ministry said the rocket fire went "against the national consensus" and promised to take action against the perpetrators.

Islamic Jihad, an Iranian-backed militant group that also has a large rocket arsenal, also denied firing the rockets.

Smaller factions also sometimes fire rockets, though it is unclear whether they possess projectiles capable of reaching Tel Aviv.

The rocket attack Thursday night caught the Israeli military off guard and marked the first time that Tel Aviv, some 80 kilometres north of Gaza, has been targeted since a 2014 war.

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