Air raid sirens wailed late Thursday throughout Tel Aviv, Israel's densely populated commercial capital, after an apparent rocket attack from the Gaza Strip. That was later denied by the Israeli military, RT's Paula Slier reported from Tel Aviv. It said there were no reports of casualties or damage.
The press service of the Israel Defence Forces confirmed that the sirens had sounded for the first time since summer 2014. 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.
"This was basically a surprise", military spokesman Brigadier-General Ronen Manelis told Israel Radio.
In Gaza, there was no immediate claim of responsibility. So did Hamas, apparently, with a group's official telling Israeli media that Hamas is "not interested in an escalation" and does not know who fired the two rockets. "It is responsible for what happens within the Strip and what emanates from it".
BREAKING NOW: Rockets Fired Towards Tel Aviv, Missiles Intercepted by Israeli Defenses
Earlier this week, Israel struck Hamas targets in Gaza in response to rocket fire on southern Israel, near the border.
In addition to Hamas, Gaza is home to other militant groups.
About 40 minutes after the alarm, traffic was flowing normally on Tel Aviv's main highway. "The time has come to defeat Hamas once and for all", he said. The situation on the Gaza border has reportedly escalated due to continued shelling and launches of arson balloons from Gaza into the Israeli territory, and the shooting and killing of protesters, medics, journalists and children near the border by IDF soldiers.
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