IDF strikes Gaza after rocket fire on Tel Aviv area


But it rattled Israeli nerves ahead of an April 9 election in which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seeking a fifth term on the strength of his national security and diplomatic credentials.

"OUTRAGEOUS! This is what prevents the world from helping the people of Gaza!".

It was the first time sirens had sounded in the city since the 2014 Gaza war between the territory's dominant Hamas Islamists and Israel.

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.

According to reports, a number of Israelis were treated for shock. "Following developments with grave concern after rockets fired from Gaza triggered alert over Tel Aviv area".

After air raid sirens howled throughout Tel Aviv and surrounding towns, Reuters journalists heard several explosions in Israel's coastal conurbation.

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Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis, the Israeli army's chief spokesman, said officials had no prior warning of the attack and were trying to determine who fired the rockets.

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.

Local media reports Hamas is rapidly evacuating military posts across the Gaza Strip in anticipation of incoming Israeli airstrikes. "It's time to defeat Hamas, it's time to demilitarize the Gaza Strip", he said.

The Hamas-run Interior Ministry called the rocket fire "outside the national consensus" and said it would exact measures against those behind it.

Hamas and PIJ told Egyptian security officials who were in the Strip to discuss a long-term truce that they were not responsible for the rockets, Al-Jazeera reported.

Israel Defense Forces tweeted: "We have just started striking terror sites in Gaza".