Hamas fires missiles at Tel Aviv, prompting first sirens in months

Israeli military says projectiles fired from Rafah area, Hamas says attack launched in response to killing of civilians.

CAIRO/JERUSALEM: Hamas said it launched missiles at Tel Aviv on Sunday, prompting sirens to sound in the Israeli city for the first time in four months as the Palestinian group sought to show military strength despite Israel’s Gaza offensive.
The Israeli military said eight projectiles were identified crossing from the area of Rafah, the southern tip of the Gaza Strip where Israel kept up operations despite a ruling by the top U.N. court ordering it to stop attacking the city.
The Israeli military said a number of the projectiles were intercepted. Israeli emergency services said they had received no reports of casualties.
In a statement on its Telegram channel, the Hamas al-Qassam Brigades said the rockets were launched in response to “Zionist massacres against civilians”.
Hamas-affiliated Al-Aqsa TV said the rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip.
Rafah is located about 100 km (60 miles) south of Tel Aviv.
Israel says it wants to root out Hamas fighters holed up in Rafah and rescue hostages it says are being held in the area, but its assault has worsened the plight of civilians and caused an international outcry.
On Sunday, Israeli strikes killed at least five Palestinians in Rafah, according to local medical services.
Israeli tanks have probed around the edges of the city, close to the main southern crossing point into Egypt, but have not yet entered the city in force.
Following the rocket salvo, Israel’s hardline public security minister Itamar Ben Gvir – who is not part of Israel’s war cabinet – urged the army to hit Rafah harder.
“Rafah with full force,” he posted on X.
Nearly 36,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s offensive, Gaza’s health ministry says. Israel launched the operation after Hamas-led militants attacked southern Israeli communities on Oct. 7, killing around 1,200 people and seizing more than 250 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.
Fighting also continued on Sunday in the northern Gaza area of Jabaliya, a heavily built up area which saw weeks of intense combat earlier in the war. During one raid, the military said it found a weapons storage site with dozens of rocket parts and weapons located in a school.
It denied statements by Hamas that Palestinian fighters had abducted an Israeli soldier.

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