Israel Strikes Gaza Terror Sites after Rockets Fired at Tel Aviv

TEL AVIV — In the early morning hours here, the Israel Defense Forces said it began striking “terror sites in Gaza” after two rockets were launched from the coastal enclave in the direction of central Israel.

Local media reports documented explosions in various sections of the Gaza Strip. Palestinian witnesses told Reuters that Israeli warplanes targeted two Hamas security positions in the south and north of the Gaza Strip.

The IDF retaliation was immediately followed by more reports of Israeli rocket sirens going off, this time in the Israeli communities close to the Gaza Strip.  The IDF said it was investigating the cause of the latest incoming rocket alerts.

The IDF response comes after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu concluded a security meeting at the IDF’s Tel Aviv headquarters. Israel’s Army Radio reported defense officials took the decision to strike dozens of Gaza Strip terror targets in response to the rocket launchings, which marked the first time Gazan terrorists fired rockets toward Tel Aviv since the 2014 Israel-Gaza War.

It was not immediately clear which terror faction was responsible for the rocket fire toward Tel Aviv.

The usual suspects — Hamas, the Popular Resistance Committees and the Iran-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad — each denied their respective terror groups were behind the projectile attacks.  The Iran-backed Al-Sabareen terrorist group in Gaza has yet to release an official statement following the rocket attacks.

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.

The rocket attacks came as Hamas and Egypt were discussing a long-term truce with Israel for the Gaza Strip.

Hamas’s so-called military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, not only denied it was behind the rocket launchings but said the attacks on Israel came while Hamas members were meeting with Egyptian officials over the Gaza truce.

“The Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades affirms that it’s not responsible for the rockets fired towards the enemy earlier tonight, especially considering they were shot off during a meeting between the Hamas leadership and the Egyptian security delegation about understandings pertaining to the Gaza Strip,” the Brigades said.

Israeli security officials told Breitbart News the Israeli defense establishment was taken by surprise by the rocket attacks.

The IDF confirmed that two rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip toward Israel on Thuraday, triggering rocket sirens throughout central Israel.

Initial reports claimed that Israel’s Iron Dome system intercepted one of the rockets fired toward Tel Aviv but the IDF later said in a statement that no interceptions were made. The IDF usually does not fire Iron Dome batteries if a rocket is calculated by army systems to land in the sea.

“Two rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israeli territory. The alert and warning systems operated as required,” the IDF said. “No interceptions were made by aerial defense systems. No damage or injuries were reported. There are no special instructions for the civilian home front.”

According to reports, a number of Israelis were treated for shock.

Israeli news media reported on rocket sirens blasting across Tel Aviv as well as the satellite cities of Ramat Gan, Givatayim, Bat Yam, Holon, Azor and Rishon Letzion.

Residents reported hearing a loud explosion during the rocket attacks on Tel Aviv. This reporter, based on the northern Tel Aviv coastline, heard one large blast following the rocket siren.

Tel Aviv’s mayor, Ron Huldai, told Israeli television he believes one rocket fell into the sea.

Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.

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