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26 May, 2024 15:42

Hamas fires rocket barrage at Tel Aviv

The militants have fired at least eight missiles at the Israeli city, which reportedly did minor damage
Hamas fires rocket barrage at Tel Aviv

The Palestinian militant group Hamas said on Sunday that it had fired rockets at Tel Aviv, its first such attack on the Israeli city in nearly four months.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) confirmed the incident, sharing footage of the missiles. The military said it intercepted several of the eight incoming projectiles without giving an exact number.

“A barrage of rockets was launched from Rafah toward central Israel moments ago. Humanitarian aid has been going into Gaza through the Kerem Shalom Crossing this morning, and now rockets are being fired at central Israel. This is what it looked like from the Rafah Crossing,” the IDF stated on X.

Footage circulating online indicates that the attack inflicted only minor damage on the ground in the Tel Aviv area; at least one residential home was hit by debris and a large crater was left in an open area. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

The missiles are said to have been launched from the Rafah area of Gaza, situated near the Palestinian enclave’s border with Egypt, where the IDF has been conducting a major military operation against Hamas.

The Palestinian group’s military wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, claimed responsibility for the attack moments after the barrage, stating the launch came “in response to the Zionist massacres against civilians” in Gaza.

The ongoing Israeli offensive against Rafah, a densely populated city in southern Gaza which has swelled due to an influx of more than 1 million refugees from other parts of the Palestinian enclave, has garnered widespread international condemnation. Despite repeated warnings not to invade from the international community, including Washington, Israel stormed the region on May 7, promptly severing the enclave’s land access to Egypt by capturing the Rafah border crossing.

Earlier this week, the United Nations’ top judicial body, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), ordered Israel to immediately halt its operation in Rafah. The court said it was “not convinced that the evacuation efforts and the related measures that Israel affirms to have undertaken” were sufficient to “alleviate the immense risk” to civilians. While the ICJ’s rulings are both binding and final, the body has no actual means to enforce them.

The conflict between Israel and Hamas started on October 7, when the Gaza-based group launched a surprise raid into the south of the country, killing over 1,000 people and taking approximately 250 hostages. More than 35,000 Palestinians, mostly women and children, have been killed so far amid the IDF operation to destroy the militants, according to the enclave’s health authorities.