An early morning rocket allegedly fired from the Gaza Strip, struck a home in central Israel on Monday, wounding seven people and prompting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to cut short a trip to Washington.
The developments set the stage for a potential major conflagration, shortly before Israel’s upcoming elections.
— AFP news agency (@AFP) March 25, 2019
The rocket attack destroyed a residential home in the community of Mishmeret, north of the city of Kfar Saba, wounding six members of the family.
An Israeli military spokesperson said that the army was set to deploy two brigades and infantry units to the southern Gaza area. It also called up reserves after the rocket attack.
– rocket fired from occupied Gaza Strip hits home in Israeli town north-east of Herzliya; severe damage, 6 injured
– no faction claims responsibility
– Iron Dome failed to activate
– Netanyahu to return early from US, says gov't will respond 'forcefully'https://t.co/7tHTjV17uC
— Ben White (@benabyad) March 25, 2019
Netanyahu, in Washington to meet President Donald Trump, held emergency consultations with military officials back in Israel and decided to cut his visit short, canceling a planned address to the AIPAC conference and meetings with congressional leaders.
“There has been a criminal attack on the State of Israel and we will respond forcefully. In a few hours I will meet with President Trump. I will return to Israel immediately afterward.”
BREAKING: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he is cutting Washington visit short after Gaza rocket attack on Israel
— The Associated Press (@AP) March 25, 2019
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Monday’s incident.
Later on Monday, a Hamas official denied to AFP news agency that the movement was behind the attack.
The official said on condition of anonymity:
“No one from the resistance movements, including Hamas, has an interest in firing rockets from the Gaza Strip towards the enemy.”
He added that the same message had been delivered to Egypt, which has acted as a mediator between Israel and Hamas.
Witnesses in Gaza told AP news agency they saw Hamas officials evacuating government premises, anticipating an Israeli response to the alleged attack.
Israel’s army accuses Hamas of firing a rocket that hit a house north of Tel Aviv, wounding seven people, and announces it is sending reinforcements to the Gaza area.https://t.co/cmHTcH6spr
— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) March 25, 2019
Hamas also announced that its Gaza chief, Yehiya Sinwar, had canceled a scheduled public speech. Israel also shut down its main cargo crossing into Gaza.
(AJE, PC, Social Media)