Published: Mon, March 25, 2019
Worldwide | By Angelina Lucas

Israel says Gaza rocket strikes home in central Israel

Israel says Gaza rocket strikes home in central Israel

Seven Israelis were injured after a rocket fired Monday from the Gaza Strip scored a direct hit on a house just outside of Tel Aviv, prompting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to cut short a visit to Washington.

"In light of the security events I chose to cut short my visit to the U.S.", Netanyahu said, calling the rocket fire a "heinous attack". "In a few hours I will meet with President Trump; I will return to Israel immediately afterwards in order to manage our actions from close at hand".

Mr Netanyahu said on Monday that he is to cut short his trip to the United States after a rocket attack near Tel Aviv.

A general view shows an emergency responder inspecting a damaged house after it was hit by a rocket in the village of Mishmeret, north of Tel Aviv on March 25, 2019.

The attack comes 10 days after rockets were fired toward Israel's densely populated commercial capital of Tel Aviv.

An Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman said the projectile was sacked from Gaza, an enclave controlled by the militant Hamas group, and Netanyahu said Israel would respond forcefully.

The Magen David Adom ambulance service said it was treating six of the building's occupants for wounds.

The rocket attack, which came a little after 5am, directly hit a family home on Moshav Mishmeret in the center of the country.

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is now in Washington, where he is due to meet US President Donald Trump later Monday, and there was no word on whether he would shorten his trip.

Three Palestinians were injured in the initial strike, according to reports, and one was said injured in the second strike.

Israel also closed its people and goods crossings with the blockaded Gaza Strip and reduced the zone in the Mediterranean it allows for Palestinian fishermen off the enclave, a statement said.

Anticipating a strong Israeli response, Gaza's Hamas leaders apparently went underground.

Mishmeret is more than 80 kilometres from the Gaza Strip and rocket fire from the Palestinian enclave at that distance is rare.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Monday's incident. The territory is home to other armed groups, including Islamic Jihad, an Iranian-backed organisation that also has a formidable rocket arsenal.

Hamas, which seeks to destroy Israel, is planning a major march on Saturday, March 30 to mark one year since the start of the protests, amid Israeli concerns over potential major violence. But Gaza's Hamas leaders said the rocket was sacked accidently and calm was quickly restored. The military had refused to comment on the reports at the time.

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