Rockets fired from Gaza target Tel Aviv for first time since 2014

Palestinians inspect a destroyed Hamas site after an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City

The attacks come as the April 9 election nears and security has been a hot topic as tensions between the two warring sides have been ratcheting up with the most recent incident occurring last Saturday when a ballistic was launched from Gaza at Israel.

The rocket attacks came as Hamas and Egypt were discussing a long-term truce with Israel for the Gaza Strip.

A Palestinian man walks past a crater on the ground following an Israeli air strike targeting a site belonging to Gaza's Islamist rulers Hamas, in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on March 15, 2019.

Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis, the chief Israeli military spokesman, said the army had been caught off guard by Thursday night's rocket barrage and had no advance intelligence.

In response to Israeli airstrikes, nine shorter-range rockets were fired from Gaza towards civilian settlements along the border, with six being intercepted.

This is a breaking news story and is constantly being updated.

Witnesses claim to have heard powerful explosions from the air strikes which rocked buildings in Gaza and lit up the sky.

Following the first Israeli airstrikes, several additional rounds of rocket fire were launched into Israel.

The wave of violence in Gaza erupted on 3 December after a Hamas commander was killed in a covert Israeli operation.

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Another was a "the main manufacturing site of standard-grade rockets in the Gaza Strip", an underground location, it said.

The Israeli military said that several rockets were fired from Gaza.

Tel Aviv's mayor, Ron Huldai, told Israeli television he believes one rocket fell into the sea. The Israeli military declined to comment on the reports.

Thursday's rocket salvo was the first to be fired toward the greater Tel Aviv area since Israel's devastating 51-day onslaught against Gaza in mid-2014.

Pompeo also defended the administration's work toward a denuclearization deal with North Korea, saying real progress was made in Hanoi even though a final agreement was not reached. Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since Hamas sized control of Gaza in 2007.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu conducted an emergency security meeting in Tel Aviv, where the army is headquartered, according to the prime minister's office.

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 perpetuators. The Egyptians left Gaza late Thursday.

Despite its denial, Hamas is one of the only groups in Gaza with the means to strike Tel Aviv. 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.

"I'd suggest to Hamas - don't count on it".

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