Israeli fighter jets are carrying out retaliatory strikes targeting Hamas terror infrastructure in Gaza after two rockets launched by Muslim terrorists hit open areas in central Israel.
Arabs report 16 strikes on at least 8 Hamas terror targets, including the Hamas Naval Commando, west of Khan Younis.
Another round of airstrikes reported at around 2:45 am.
Sirens sounded in the Eshkol Regional Council shortly after the retaliatory strikes began. According to initial reports, a rocket launched from Gaza exploded in an open area causing no injuries and no damage.
Additional sirens sounded at 2.50 am in the Sha’ar HaNegev and Sdot Negev Regional Councils. According to initial reports, the Iron Dome rocket defense system intercepted one rocket and another rocket exploded in an open area causing no damage or casualties.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who also acts as defense minister, held an emergency security meeting in the IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv.
An Egyptian security delegation departed Gaza at Israel’s request following the rocket fire. Gaza media outlets reported that Hamas had begun evacuating terror posts.
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group denied any involvement in the rocket fire.
The Hamas armed wing Izz ad-Din al-Qassam, whose sole mission is to murder Israelis, said in a statement it was also “not responsible” for the firing of the rockets. They were fired as a meeting was underway between the leadership of Hamas and the Egyptian security delegation.
“We can confirm that the rockets fired from Gaza at Tel Aviv earlier tonight were launched by the Hamas terrorist organization”, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit tweeted.
Code red sirens sounded in central Israeli cities Thursday night for the first time since 2014.
The IDF confirmed that two rockets were fired by Muslim terrorists from Gaza at Gush Dan. One rocket was intercepted by the Iron Dome system. The remains of a rocket fell in northern Tel Aviv.
“The warning and detection systems acted as required, there was no intercept missile fired by air defense systems, no damage or casualties were reported in the incident, and there are no special instructions for the home front,” the IDF said.
Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai said he had ordered the city to open public air raid shelters as a protective measure. The decision was followed by several other municipalities in central Israel.
Thousands of Gazans took the streets today in the Jabaliya neighborhood to protest the economic situation. Another anti-Hamas rally spontaneously began in Dier Al Balah.
According to eyewitnesses and videos posted online, Hamas security forces opened fire, attacked hundreds of demonstrators, brutally beating them up and arresting several of them.
Security experts in Israel speculated that the domestic disturbances could lead the terror group to strike Israel as a diversion.