Sirens warn of rockets launched towards Israel from Gaza: News reports | Israel-Palestine conflict News
Dozens of rockets have been fired from the blockaded Gaza Strip towards Israel, and sirens warning of incoming fire have been heard as far away as the greater Tel Aviv area, according to news reports.
The rocket fire began from multiple locations in Gaza starting at 06:30 am local time (03:30 GMT) on Saturday and continued for nearly half an hour, the Agence France-Presse news agency reported.
Air raid sirens were heard as far away as Tel Aviv, some 70 km (40 miles) to the north and Israelis were instructed to stay near bomb shelters in their homes and apartment buildings.
Israel’s Magen David Adom rescue agency said a 70-year-old woman was critically injured when a rocket hit a building in southern Israel. Elsewhere, a 20-year-old man was moderately injured by rocket shrapnel, it said.
Gaza residents said they also heard armed clashes along the separation fence with Israel, near the southern town of Khan Younis and saw significant movement of armed Palestinian fighters. There were no additional details from Israel’s military.
Mohammed Deif, the leader of the military wing of Hamas, the armed movement that controls the Gaza Strip, said a new military operation has been launched against Israel.
In a rare public statement, Deif said the rockets fired into Israel early on Saturday marked the start of “Operation Al-Aqsa Storm”, according to reports.
“We’ve decided to say enough is enough,” Deif said as he urged all Palestinians to confront Israel in a message delivered in a recording.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said he would meet with top security officials in the coming hours.
Al Jazeera’s Rob Reynolds, reporting from occupied East Jerusalem, said the “element of surprise” in the early morning attack which appeared to involve Palestinian fighters in trucks and on paragliders, in addition to the rocket fire, will leave Israelis “shocked and stunned”.
Israel’s military had yet to comment but its forces usually carry out airstrikes in response to rocket fire, raising the likelihood of wider fighting.
The rocket launched on Saturday come after weeks of growing tensions along Israel’s volatile border with Gaza, and clashes in the Israeli-occupied West Bank where some 200 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli military so far this year.
Palestinian attacks on Israeli have killed some 30 people this year.
This is a breaking news story. More to follow soon.