Israel strikes Gaza in retaliation to Hamas rocket launch at Tel Aviv

The Israeli Air Force began striking targets in Gaza early Friday morning around 1:30 a.m. in retaliation for two rockets that had been fired at Tel Aviv Thursday night, the IDF spokesperson said. 

The army confirmed that it was Hamas that launched the rockets at the center of the country.

A red alert was heard in the Eshkol Regional Council at around the same time. A second red alert was activated in the Sha’ar HaNegev Regional Council and Sdot Negev Regional Council soon after.

Media sources are reporting that the army struck targets at the port of Khan Yunis.

Reuters reported that Palestinian witnesses said Israeli planes bombed two Hamas security positions in the south and north of the territory. The Israeli military confirmed that it was attacking what it called “terror sites” in Gaza. According to security sources in the Gaza Strip, several military installations were attacked, with no casualties.

Late Thursday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened an emergency meeting at the Kiriya in Tel Aviv to discuss Israel’s response. Among those participating were Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen Aviv Kochavi, National Security Council head Meir Ben-Shabbat, Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) head Nadav Argaman, and other senior security establishment officials.

It was the first time sirens were activated in Tel Aviv since the last war with Gaza in 2014 and several Israelis were treated for shock.

As the retaliation began, politicians and supporters from around the world reacted in support of Israel.

“Our Israeli allies have an absolute right to self-defense, “ he said. “The United States should do whatever possible to bolster that defense.”

“More attempted rockets from Gaza-reports say rockets fell short-inside Gaza,” he wrote. “Presumably all responsible countries/international orgs will condemn attacks/confirm Israel’s right to defend. Anything else is tone deaf – to Israelis, Palestinians to peace. Time to wake up folks!”

He followed that tweet with another one,  noting that “Hamas, PIJ and PFLP are all running for the hills (tunnels) denying responsibility for the rockets tonight. Separately, Hamas violently put down anti-Hamas demonstrations today in Gaza with live bullets, beatings and detentions. Hamas causes much suffering in Gaza!,” Greenblatt wrote.

The European Union’s Ambassador to Israel, Emanuele Giaufret, condemned the Hamas rocket attack on Tel Aviv.

“Following developments with grave concern,” he wrote on Twitter, adding that “targeting civilian areas [is] unacceptable.”

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