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Air-raid sirens sounded in Jerusalem, and Tel Aviv opened bomb shelters as Gaza terrorists launched rocket attacks at central Israel Tuesday night.
In the largest barrage from Gaza yet, more than 40 rockets have been fired into Israel in the attack, the Jerusalem Post reported.
The Gaza-based Hamas jihadist group, which governs the territory, has declared that all Israelis are now targets for attacks.
No significant injuries have been reported, the Post said, as the Israel Defense Forces’ Iron Dome rocket defense system has intercepted a number of rockets.
The paper said two loud thuds were heard by residents in downtown Jerusalem shortly after a rocket siren went off in the capital at about 10 p.m., sending thousands of city residents to bomb shelters.
Air raid sirens were also activated in the cities of Rishon Lezion, Bat Yam, Holon and Bnei Barak.
In its ongoing Operation Protective Edge operation, the Israel Air Force struck 50 targets in Gaza in the past two hours.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on Israelis to rally together and “show resilience, because this operation could take time.”
“We will not tolerate rocket fire against our cities and townships, and therefore I ordered a significant broadening of IDF (Israel Defense Force) operations against the terrorists of Hamas and other terror groups in the Gaza Strip,” he said in a statement.
Washington supported Israel’s actions, Reuters reported, while France, Germany and the United Nations urged restraint on both sides.
“We strongly condemn the continuing rocket fire inside of Israel and the deliberate targeting of civilians by terrorist organizations in Gaza,” said White House spokesman Josh Earnest.
“No country can accept rocket fire aimed at civilians and we support Israel’s right to defend itself against these vicious attacks.”
The surge in violence followed the abduction June 12 of three Jewish seminary students, which prompted Israel’s arrest of hundreds of Hamas activists. The teens were eventually found dead.
Hamas has neither confirmed nor denied responsibility for the kidnappings.
Israel says Palestinians have since launched more than 200 rockets from Gaza.
More to come …