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Israel-Gaza Conflict Continues to Escalate After Several Rounds of Strikes, Rocket Fire –

Israel’s Defense Forces confirmed that it had carried out a series of targeted attacks on Hamas and Islamic Jihad inside the Gaza Strip late Thursday in retaliation for two rockets that were fired from Gaza toward the center of Israel, triggering rocket sirens in Tel Aviv for the first time since the last war with Gaza in 2014.

 Immediately after the IDF confirmation, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced he would convene the security cabinet in the military headquarters in Tel Aviv. Israel’s municipality announced that public bomb shelters in the Tel Aviv area would be opened.

Video posted by the foreign ministry and shown on public television appeared to show missiles climbing into the sky above high-rise buildings as sirens wail in the background, implying perhaps that Iron Dome was activated but did not engage incoming rockets. Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai told public television one of the Gaza rockets “apparently fell into the sea, the other hit somewhere but not in Tel Aviv.” In Gaza, both rulers Hamas and Islamic Jihad, an allied group, issued statements denying any responsibility for the attack, which came just over three weeks ahead of Israel’s April 9 election.

Israel holds Hamas responsible for any rocket fire from Gaza, even if carried out by smaller groups outside direct Hamas control.

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