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Hamas launches rocket attack towards Tel Aviv area

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Hamas says it has launched a rocket attack at the Tel Aviv area in central Israel for the first time in nearly four months.

At least eight rockets were launched from the Rafah area in southern Gaza, the Israeli military said, adding that several were intercepted. No injuries were reported.

Israel is carrying out a military operation in Rafah.

Sirens also sounded in other Israeli cities and towns, including Herzliya and Petah Tikva.

Israeli media published footage of missile fragments in the garden of a building in Herzliya. Other footage appeared to show shrapnel damage to a bedroom in a house.

A different video showed a large crater apparently created by a rocket in an open area near the central town of Kfar Saba.

Israel’s ambulance service, Magen David Adom, said many people were being treated for acute anxiety.

The military wing of Hamas, the al-Qassam Brigades, claimed credit for launching a “big” missile attack on Tel Aviv on its Telegram channel.

Tel Aviv, the economic centre of Israel, is the largest city in the country. A degree of normality had returned to the city since it was last attacked in January.

But now Israelis hear once again the explosions of air defence systems intercepting Hamas rockets.

The group may be trying to show its strength ahead of fresh negotiations expected to start on Tuesday to try to end the conflict – or it may be trying to derail them.

The missile attacks came as Israel’s army intensified its assault on the southern Gaza city of Rafah, despite a ruling by the International Court of Justice that it must immediately halt its offensive.

Fighting has been reported near the Kuwaiti Hospital in the city.

Palestinian media reported that at least one person had been killed and several others injured in an Israeli airstrike on a residential home in central Rafah.

The reports said many of the wounded were taken to the Kuwaiti Hospital.

Israel began its offensive in the southern Gaza city about three weeks ago, vowing to destroy what it said were the remaining Hamas battalions there.

The UN says more than 800,000 Palestinians have fled the southern city. About 1.5 million had been sheltering from the fighting elsewhere in Gaza there.

Israel’s military campaign in Gaza began after gunmen from Hamas, the organisation which ruled the territory, attacked Israel on 7 October, killing about 1,200 people and taking 252 others back to Gaza as hostages.

At least 35,800 Palestinians have been killed in the war since then, according to Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry.

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