Two rockets fired from Gaza at Tel Aviv area: army

A Palestinian protester holds a national flag as another protester throws a stone towards Israeli forces during a demonstration on the beach near the maritime border with Israel in the northern Gaza Strip

Prime Minister / Defense Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened an emergency security meeting at the IDF Kirya military headquarters in Tel Aviv Thursday night following a rocket attack fired at central Israel from Gaza.

In a statement, it said its rocket sirens were activated in communities near the Gaza Strip border on Friday soon after it carried out strikes on Hamas targets in the territory. One was reported to have been intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system while another one is said to have fallen in open territory.

As the Israeli Air Force strikes their first targets in Gaza following Thursday night's rocket attack on Tel Aviv, a red alert was heard in the Eshkol Regional Council.

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

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 between Gaza militants and Israel.

Israel and Hamas are bitter enemies and have fought three wars since the Islamic militant group seized power in Gaza in 2007.

Smaller factions inspired by the Islamic State group also sometimes fire rockets, though it is unclear whether they possess projectiles capable of reaching Tel Aviv.

Harsh sirens rang out across the streets as citizens were warned of the first missile attacks since 2014. He said officials were still trying to determine who had fired the rocket. The Iran-backed Al-Sabareen terrorist group in Gaza has yet to release an official statement following the rocket attacks.

The missile launches come less than a month before the April 9 Knesset elections, and two months before Tel Aviv is due to host the Eurovision Song Contest, a major global event that is expected to draw many thousands of tourists from all over Europe.

Tel Aviv mayor Ron Huldai told the television one of the Gaza rockets "apparently fell into the sea, the other hit somewhere but not in Tel Aviv".

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

The Hamas-controlled Gaza Interior Ministry labeled Thursday's rocket attacks targeting Tel Aviv "outside of the national consensus", with Hamas claiming it would clamp down on those responsible. "We will do anything necessary to restore security and quiet to the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip and to the south in general".

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