Rocket attack on Tel Aviv was apparently a mistake, Israeli media say

As tensions have risen in Gaza over Israel's lethal response to weekly protests at the frontier during the past year, militants in the enclave have fired hundreds of projectiles into surrounding areas, although not as far north as Tel Aviv.

Two of the rockets launched from Gaza had targeted the Israeli economic capital, Tel Aviv - the first such attack since a 2014 war between Israel and Gaza militants.

Attack helicopters and warplanes launched airstrikes on Hamas underground rocket manufacturing sites and unmanned aerial aircraft, among other targets, it said.

The air strikes, the heaviest in five months, hit about 100 military targets belonging to Hamas, the Islamist group which controls Gaza, the military said.

Gaza residents reported a number of rockets being fired back at Israel in response.

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.

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.

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. No injuries were reported on the Israeli side.

According to Haaretz, the IDF opted to ignore its own estimates in its reaction to the Gaza attack on Tel Aviv and retaliated despite the assessments.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in the midst of a tight re-election battle. Among the terrorist targets was the offices of the Hamas headquarters in Gaza City responsible for directing terrorist operatives in Judea and Samaria, building terrorist infrastructures and transferring money to those responsible for terrorist attacks against Israeli citizens.

The call came hours after the protest was cancelled for the first time in almost a year after Israeli jets hit the enclave on Thursday evening, following the launching of rockets at Tel Aviv.

On Friday, Islamic Jihad's armed wing said in a statement that it had put its fighters on full alert to respond to Israeli attacks.

In Gaza, health officials reported that four people were wounded, including a husband and wife in the southern town of Rafah. The assessment indicated that Hamas had no intention of escalating violence with Israel. A smaller militant group that also possesses a large arsenal of rockets, the Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad, also denied involvement.

It was the first time the city had been targeted since a 2014 war between Israel and Gaza militants.

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

Vanessa Coleman

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