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Rockets Fired from Gaza at Tel Aviv, Explosions Heard

15 March 2019
Rockets Fired from Gaza at Tel Aviv, Explosions Heard

Air-raid sirens sounded in Tel Aviv on Thursday evening, as two missiles were registered incoming from the Gaza Strip.

This reporter, based on the northern Tel Aviv coastline, heard one large blast following the rocket siren. One rocket was intercepted by the anti-missile Iron Dome system, according to media reports. It said there were no reports of casualties or damage. Israeli media said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was convening senior military and security officers to evaluate the situation.

"This was basically a surprise", military spokesman Brigadier-General Ronen Manelis told Israel Radio.

The attacks came as Gaza rulers Hamas sought to contain riots by Palestinians in the coastal enclave and security experts in Israel speculated that the domestic disturbances could lead the terror group to strike Israel as a diversion.

In addition to Hamas, Gaza is home to other militant groups.

Islamic Jihad and the Popular Resistance Committees, two smaller Gaza armed factions, also denied responsibility.

About 40 minutes after the alarm, traffic was flowing normally on Tel Aviv's main highway. "It's time to defeat Hamas, it's time to demilitarize the Gaza Strip", he said.

Tel Aviv Municipality has opened all public bomb shelters, effective immediately.

Tensions have been high for the past year along the Israel-Gaza frontier since Palestinians began violent protests near Israel's border fence that have often drawn a lethal response from the Israeli military.