UK & World News

  • 9 July 2014, 3:25

Rockets Fired At Three Israeli Cities

Hamas militants claim they have fired missiles at the Israeli cities of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa.

The Israeli army said at least one rocket had hit Jerusalem, with reports a house had been damaged in the suburbs of the city.

It follows the continuing exchange of missiles and airstrikes between Israel and Hamas that has left at least 19 Palestinians dead.

The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) claimed 117 rockets had hit the country in the past 24 hours, while its Iron Dome anti-missile system had intercepted a further 29. The Israelis reported no casualties.

Israelis ran for cover as air-raid sirens sounded in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem on Monday evening.

The armed wing of Hamas claimed one rocket had been fired at Haifa, four at Jerusalem and four at Tel Aviv.

The Israeli military said one rocket exploded in the northern Israeli city of Hadera, about 100km (60 miles) away from Gaza.

Israel launched air and sea strikes on dozens of targets in the Gaza, with explosions echoing day and night, shaking buildings and sending up plumes of smoke.

Palestinian medics reported that at least 19 people had been killed, including six who died in an airstrike that flattened the home of a Hamas militant in the southern Gaza town of Khan Younis. Two children were among the dead, medics said.

Israeli soldiers also killed four Palestinian gunmen who slipped into southern Israel by sea from Gaza, the Israeli army said.

Israel has threatened to invade Gaza if the rockets continue, massing troops along the border for a possible ground invasion.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: "We will not tolerate rocket fire against our cities and townships, and therefore I ordered a significant broadening of IDF operations against the terrorists of Hamas and other terror groups in the Gaza Strip."

As Israel builds up forces along the border, the Israeli army was authorised to activate up to 40,000 reserve troops.

Hamas warned Israel had "crossed a red line" and would pay the price, threatening an "earthquake" in response to the attacks.

"If this policy does not stop, we will respond by enlarging the radius of our targets to the point where the enemy will be surprised," the group's military wing said in a statement.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas demanded Israel end its assault.

Tensions have been rising since three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped in the West Bank on June 12.

The situation deteriorated further after the bodies of the Israeli youths were found last week, and a Palestinian teenager in Jerusalem was abducted and killed in what Palestinians claimed was a revenge attack. 

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