Hamas launched a rocket attack on the Tel Aviv area

Hamas said it launched a “massive” rocket attack on the Tel Aviv area in central Israel.

The Israeli military said at least eight rockets were launched from the Rafah area in southern Gaza, adding that some of the rockets were intercepted. No injuries were reported.

The attack – the first time in nearly four months that Hamas has attacked central Israel – came as Israel launched a military operation in Rafah, despite a ruling by the United Nations’ top court.

The barrage of rockets highlights the threat that Hamas still poses to people across Israel, as well as the challenges the Israeli military faces as it pushes deeper into southern Gaza to oust Hamas from what it calls “the last great stronghold”.

The attack comes ahead of further ceasefire talks between Israel and Hamas, which are expected to continue next week.

Hamas’s military wing, the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, said it was a response to a “massacre of civilians”.

But by briefly destabilizing the relative normalcy that people in Tel Aviv – Israel’s economic hub – have enjoyed in recent months, Hamas may be trying to flex its muscles. before negotiations – or try to deflect them.

Air raid sirens also sounded in cities such as Herzliya and Petah Tikva. The IDF said its Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepted three of the eight projectiles.

Most of them landed in open areas, but photos published by Israeli media appeared to show minor shrapnel damage to a house in Herzliya, where an elderly woman lived. her caregiver. Police said two people suffered minor injuries.

And in Kfar Saba, north of Tel Aviv, a rocket fell into a field, creating a large crater.

Late Sunday, sirens also sounded in several southern border villages bordering Gaza, including some where residents have returned to live since the October 7 Hamas attack. .

Hamas did not confirm that the rocket was launched from Rafah, where there were reports of fighting near the Kuwaiti Hospital.

Despite deep international concern, Israel began its assault on the southern Gaza city about three weeks ago, vowing to destroy what it said was the last Hamas battalion present there.

However, the latest rocket attacks were a reminder of Hamas’s military capabilities after seven months of attacks that Israel said were aimed at destroying the group.

War Cabinet Secretary Benny Gantz said the missile launches showed the military needed to step up its offensive.

The United Nations says more than 800,000 Palestinians have fled Rafah, a once-sprawling city on the southern edge of Gaza. About 1.5 million people have taken refuge from the fighting elsewhere in Gaza.

Israel’s military campaign in Gaza began after gunmen from Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, killing about 1,200 people and taking 252 others back to Gaza as hostages.

According to Gaza’s Hamas-run Health Ministry, nearly 36,000 Palestinians have been killed in the war since then.

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