THE two terror rockets which brought fear to Tel Aviv were “a mistake”, army chiefs believe.
They think that “rogue” Hamas forces in the Gaza Strip fired the Fajr-5 missiles at Israel’s coastal metropolis.
A shrill siren sent frightened Tel Avivians scurrying for shelter. Five people were treated for shock.
As two loud explosions were heard, it was at first thought that Israel’s Iron Dome missile defence system had downed at least one of the projectiles.
But the army later said that no interception had taken place as both missiles fell in open territory. It was the first rocket fire towards central Israel since 2014.
Amid the drama, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened a high-level meeting with security officials and top-brass army chiefs . . . and within hours, Israeli war planes had struck more than 100 terror targets throughout the Gaza Strip.
As Hamas officials ran for safety, they were at pains to point out that the raid on Tel Aviv was not of their doing.
Fearing the inevitable Israeli retaliation, Islamic Jihad and other terror groups quickly denied being behind it, too.
Instead, “low-level” Hamas terrorists were blamed, with the Strip’s rulers promising to take action against the perpetrators.
Also being considered was the possibility that the rockets had “accidentally” gone off during routine maintenance work.
Before the Israeli planes took off, Jerusalem warned an Egyptian delegation, which had been in Gaza negotiating a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel, to leave the Strip. The rocket raid on central Israel “went against the national consensus”, Hamas said. But their explanation did nothing to deter Israeli jets — and naval vessels — reducing a multitude of their military sites to rubble in the early hours of Friday morning.
They included a headquarters responsible for the planning and execution of terror attacks, an underground complex that served as Hamas’ main rocket-manufacturing site, and a training camp for the group’s drone programme.
Naval sites and several underground infrastructures were also struck.
While assessing casualties, the Gaza health ministry said that a woman had to have a hand amputated.
But still the terrorists weren’t finished. Nine projectiles were later launched from the Strip, with six being intercepted by Iron Dome.
Shrapnel was discovered outside a school in the Israeli border city of Sderot.
American president Donald Trump’s special representative, Jason Greenblatt, put the blame squarely on Hamas.
“This is what prevents the world from helping the people of Gaza,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Tel Aviv rockets were celebrated by pro-Hezbollah and pro-Iran groups on social media. And Lebanese TV station Al-Mayadeen trumpeted: “Occupation admits that Palestinians bomb ‘Tel Aviv’.”
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