Israeli army strikes terror targets along length of Gaza Strip

Israeli army strikes terror targets along length of Gaza Strip

Israeli air strikes hit sites across the Gaza Strip on Monday in retaliation for a rare rocket attack that hit a house near Tel Aviv, before Hamas said a ceasefire was reached.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was in Washington to meet President Trump, chose to cut his visit short, canceling a planned address to the AIPAC conference and meetings with congressional leaders.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is now in Washington, announced he was cutting his trip short and cancelling his Tuesday speech to the AIPAC Policy Conference in order to return and oversee Israel's response.

The Israel Defense Forces are sending additional troops to the Gaza Strip border following a rocket attack that left seven Israeli citizens wounded.

He said he would meet with President Donald Trump in the coming hours and then fly back immediately. The Magen David Adom rescue service said it treated seven people, including two women who were moderately wounded.

"No one from the resistance movements, including Hamas, has an interest in firing rockets from the Gaza Strip towards the enemy", the official told AFP on condition of anonymity, evoking the possibility that "bad weather" may have been to blame. The rocket wounded six members of the home it struck and a 12-year-old neighbour.

Israel's strikes had come in response to a rocket attack from the Palestinian territory earlier Monday.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility to Monday's incident.

A police officer inspects the damage to a house hit by a rocket in Mishmeret central Israel
A police officer inspects the damage to a house hit by a rocket in Mishmeret central Israel

The official said the same message had been passed to Egypt, which has acted as mediator between Israel and Hamas.

"Their leaders should be aware that we will respond with force against their aggression", it said in a statement, without commenting on who may have been responsible for the rocket.

A rocket launched from the Rafah area in southern Gaza hit a house in Mishmeret, about 120km (75 miles) to the north, causing severe damage to the building and setting it on fire. One of the rockets struck an open area in the city of Holon.

The move appeared to give Netanyahu a boost ahead of the closely contested April 9 Israeli elections. Gaza's Hamas leaders said the rocket was sacked accidentally and the fighting quickly subsided.

Ashraf al-Qudrah, spokesperson for Gaza's health ministry, said hospitals and medical points across the strip are ready and on high alert.

During the press conference, Trump signed a proclamation formally recognising Israel's sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights, a move that reversed decades of USA policy. Witnesses reported seeing Hamas evacuating its personnel from government premises. Hamas also announced that its Gaza chief, Yehiya Sinwar, had canceled a public speech.

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

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