Israel says Gaza rockets that led to airstrikes fired by mistake

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Netanyahu called an emergency meeting with top security officials, after which Israel mounted its response.

Quiet returned to Gaza and Israel on Friday morning.

A Palestinian man walks past a crater on the ground following an Israeli air strike targeting a site belonging to Gaza's Islamist rulers Hamas, in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on March 15, 2019.

An explosion was heard in the city centre.

While rocket launches from Gaza are not unusual, it was the first time in more than four years that they have targeted the major city of Tel Aviv.

The late-night attack Thursday on Tel Aviv, Israel's densely populated commercial and cultural capital, marked a dramatic escalation in hostilities.

Five people were treated for shock but no serious injuries were reported.

"In recent months, it appears that Hamas is feeling emboldened ahead of the Israeli elections, sensing that they can push for greater Israeli concessions in easing the blockade because Bibi Netanyahu wants to avoid an unwinnable war in Gaza ahead of the elections", Ms Tsurkov said. He said Israel had no advance intelligence warnings of the rocket fire, which went unclaimed by any Palestinian group.

Hamas possesses a vast arsenal of rockets and missiles, but it has sought to contain violence with Israel since the last war in 2014.

A military spokesman declined to comment.

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Gaza is controlled by Hamas, an Islamic militant group that seeks Israel's destruction.

Reuters was unable to immediately verify the claims.

"Fighter planes, combat helicopters and (other) aircrafts attacked some 100 terrorist targets of the Hamas terrorist organization throughout the Gaza Strip".

Among the terrorist targets was the offices of the Hamas headquarters in Gaza City responsible for directing terrorist operatives in Judea and Samaria, building terrorist infrastructures and transferring money to those responsible for terrorist attacks against Israeli citizens. In addition it hit an underground complex that served as Hamas' main rocket-manufacturing site, and a military training site that also functioned as the group's drone program.

A Hamas official says an agreement to restore calm between Gaza militants and Israel has been reached.

Gaza residents reported a number of rockets fired back at Israel in response.

"Two rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israeli territory", an army statement said.

Three were intercepted by missile defence systems, it said.

Nearly daily exchanges between Israel and the Palestinian territory have threatened a wider escalation in hostilities over the past few weeks.

It comes as the one-year anniversary of mass protests and clashes along the Gaza-Israel border fence approaches on March 30.

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