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Israel strikes Hamas targets in Gaza after rocket hits house Israel strikes Hamas targets in Gaza after rocket hits house
(about 5 hours later)
Israel has carried out strikes on Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, hours after a rocket hit a house north of Tel Aviv. Israel has carried out strikes on Hamas targets in Gaza, after a rocket attack on a house injured seven Israelis.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said the office of Hamas's political leader and the group's military intelligence headquarters were among the targets.The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said the office of Hamas's political leader and the group's military intelligence headquarters were among the targets.
Gaza's health ministry said seven people were injured in the strikes. Gaza's health ministry said seven Palestinians were injured.
Air strikes continued overnight. Dozens of rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip, Israel said, and air raid sirens sounded across southern Israel. Militants later launched a barrage of rockets towards southern Israeli towns despite reports of a ceasefire, triggering further Israeli strikes.
The IDF had earlier blamed Hamas, which controls Gaza, for the launch of the rocket that hit the Israeli community of Mishmeret, injuring seven people. So far no Palestinian militant group has said it fired the long-range rocket that hit the house in Mishmeret, north of Tel Aviv, on Monday morning.
"Israel will not tolerate this, I will not tolerate this," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters during a ceremony in Washington at which US President Donald Trump formally recognised Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights, which Israel captured from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war. The Israeli military blamed Hamas, but one unnamed official from the group said it had "no interest" in doing so.
"Israel is responding forcefully to this wanton aggression," Mr Netanyahu added. He later cut short his US visit and returned to Israel. The escalation follows months of tensions at the boundary fence between Gaza and Israel, and two weeks before Israel holds a general election.
Mr Trump denounced the attack as "despicable" and said the US "recognises Israel's absolute right to defend itself".
So far no Palestinian militant group has said it fired the rocket. One unnamed Hamas official said it had "no interest" in doing so.
What is the latest?What is the latest?
On Tuesday morning the IDF said it had launched 15 attacks in the northern Gaza Strip in retaliation for rockets being fired into Israeli territory. Israeli media report that the Israeli side of the border has been quiet since 03:15 (01:15 GMT), and that the last Israeli strike on Gaza took place at about 04:30.
It said earlier that about 30 rockets had been fired into Israel since 22:00 local time (20:00 GMT) on Monday. Overnight, Palestinian militants in Gaza fired more than 60 rockets and mortars towards Israel, according to the IDF. About 30 of the projectiles were launched after Hamas said it had accepted an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire agreement that would start at 22:00.
One house in the southern Israeli town of Sderot was damaged on Monday evening but no injuries were reported. Israel's Iron Dome missile defence system shot several rockets down and the majority fell in open fields, officials added. No injuries were reported in Israel, but a home in the town of Sderot was hit by a rocket that did not explode.
Schools in Israeli communities near the Gaza border were closed on Tuesday, reports said. The IDF said, in response to the rocket fire, fighter jets and helicopters struck 15 targets in Gaza, including a Hamas military compound in the central town of Deir al-Balah. Gaza's health ministry did not report any casualties as a result of those strikes.
Hamas officials had said that a ceasefire had been reached with the help of Egyptian mediators but Israel did not comment on the claim. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would immediately go to the IDF's headquarters when he returned from a curtailed trip to the US on Tuesday.
"We'll deal with these issues," he said. "We gave a very powerful response. Hamas needs to know that we won't hesitate to go in [to Gaza] and take any required steps."
Meanwhile, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan told Israeli Army Radio that "rumours of a ceasefire are incorrect".
The BBC's Yolande Knell in Jerusalem says Mr Netanyahu may want to avoid an unpredictable escalation before a closely-fought general election, but he is under intense pressure to show he is taking decisive action against Hamas.
What happened on Monday morning?What happened on Monday morning?
A rocket launched from the Rafah area in southern Gaza hit a house in Mishmeret, about 120km (75 miles) to the north, causing severe damage to the building and setting it on fire. A rocket launched from the Rafah area in southern Gaza hit a house in Mishmeret, about 120km (75 miles) to the north, damaging the building and setting it on fire.
The Israeli ambulance service treated two women who were moderately wounded and five other people, including an infant, a three-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl, who had minor wounds.The Israeli ambulance service treated two women who were moderately wounded and five other people, including an infant, a three-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl, who had minor wounds.
The house belonged to Robert and Susan Wolf, two British-Israeli dual nationals, who had been at home with their son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren.The house belonged to Robert and Susan Wolf, two British-Israeli dual nationals, who had been at home with their son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren.
"I nearly lost my family. If we had not got to the bomb shelter in time I would now be burying all my family," Mr Wolf told reporters.
The blast also caused damage to at least one nearby home and several vehicles.
It was the furthest a rocket has reached in Israel since the 2014 conflict in Gaza.It was the furthest a rocket has reached in Israel since the 2014 conflict in Gaza.
IDF spokeswoman Major Mika Lifshitz said Hamas - which has fought three wars with Israel since 2008 and is designated a terrorist group by Israel, the US, EU and UK - was to blame for the launch. An IDF spokeswoman said Hamas - which has fought three wars with Israel since 2008 and is designated a terrorist group by Israel, the US, EU and UK - had manufactured the rocket and was to blame for its launch.
"It's a Hamas rocket, itself made by Hamas," she said. "It has an ability to reach more than 120km." What did Israel strike in response?
"We see Hamas as responsible for all that happens in the Gaza Strip," she added. The IDF said it had struck dozens of Hamas targets across Gaza on Monday evening - a response that Mr Netanyahu described as "very powerful".
What has Israel struck in response? The targets included the office of Hamas political leader Ismail Haniya in Gaza City's Rimal district. There was no indication that Mr Haniya was inside at the time.
Palestinian security sources, media outlets and witnesses said there were strikes across Gaza on Monday evening. The IDF also said it had bombed a five-storey building in Gaza City housing the offices of Hamas' Internal Security Service, and a three-storey building in the eastern Sabra district that was the "secret headquarters" of Hamas's General Security Forces, as well as its General Intelligence and Military Intelligence agencies.
The IDF and Hamas's Al-Aqsa TV said the office of Hamas political leader Ismail Haniya in Gaza City's Rimal district was bombed. It was not clear whether he was inside at the time. The official Palestinian news agency, Wafa, reported that two Palestinians were injured when jets fired missiles at a commercial building in central Gaza City, and that one other person was hurt in a strike in the eastern Shujaiya district.
The IDF also said its fighter jets targeted the offices of Hamas' Internal Security Service, as well as a three-storey building in the Sabra district in eastern Gaza City that served as the "secret headquarters" of Hamas's General Security Forces, and its General Intelligence and Military Intelligence agencies. A Hamas website, The Palestinian Information Center, said blocks of flats, civilian facilities, agricultural land and "resistance sites" had been targeted.
The official Palestinian news agency meanwhile reported that Israeli jets fired missiles at two locations in central Gaza City and in the eastern Shujaiya district.
A spokesman for the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry, Ashraf al-Qudra, said on Twitter that seven people were injured, including three in northern Gaza.
Before launching the strikes, the IDF deployed two additional brigades to southern Israel and began what it called a "very limited" call-up of reservists.
Israeli authorities also closed roads near the boundary fence with Gaza, suspended agricultural work in the area, postponed major events in the southern coastal town of Ashkelon, and opened bomb shelters.