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Egypt Curbs Escalation in Gaza After Rocket Hits House North of Tel Aviv

Egypt Curbs Escalation in Gaza After Rocket Hits House North of Tel Aviv

Tuesday, 26 March, 2019 - 11:45
Fires from Israeli air strikes on Gaza on Monday, March 25, 2019. (AFP)

Israel started Monday striking Hamas targets in Gaza Strip after a rocket hit a house in central Israel earlier in the day.

The level of violence had appeared to lessen as Palestinians said a ceasefire had been reached through mediation by Egypt late on Monday.

The Israeli military said it was assigning two brigades to the Gaza area after closing all Strip’s borders and turning areas in the Strip into a closed military zone in preparation for the military operation.

A small number of reservists were also called in to serve on Iron Dome missile defense systems and other select units, the army said.

It said the rocket that struck the home in the central Israeli town of Mishmeret was a variety produced by Hamas, known as a J80, which has a range of 120 kilometers, making it the longest-range attack from Gaza causing casualties since the last war in Gaza in 2014.

According to security experts, the missile is an updated version of the Hamas-owned M-75, which is an improved version of Iran's Fajr missiles.

Monday’s violence began when seven Israelis were wounded near Tel Aviv by the rocket attack.

“The launch was carried out by Hamas from one of its positions in the Rafah area,” Chief spokesman Ronen Manelis said.

“We are prepared for a wide range of scenarios,” he added.

Sources said Hamas has deliberately launched the rocket and there is sufficient evidence.

Manelis, for his part, insisted that Hamas has launched it, holding it accountable for all what is happening in Gaza Strip.

Netanyahu cut short a visit to the United States, saying he would fly home right after meeting President Donald Trump.

“Israel will not tolerate this. I will not tolerate this,” Netanyahu said. “And as we speak... Israel is responding forcefully to this wanton aggression.”

Trump told reporters with Netanyahu at his side that Israel has the “absolute right” to defend itself.

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