Israeli army accuses Hamas of firing rocket that hit near Tel Aviv

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Israel’s army accused Hamas of firing a rocket that hit a house north of Tel Aviv on Monday, wounding seven people, and announced it was sending reinforcements to the Gaza area.

The military said on Twitter the rocket had been fired from the Rafah area in the southern Gaza Strip.

It announced it was sending two additional brigades to the area around the Hamas-run enclave and was carrying out a limited call up of reservists.

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

The rocket would have had to travel some 120 kilometers from Rafah to hit the house in the community of Mishmeret.

It has raised fears of a severe military escalation between the two sides just ahead of April 9 Israeli elections.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced earlier he was cutting short a trip to the United States and returning home due to the security situation.

Netanyahu said he would return after meeting US President Donald Trump later Monday, canceling an address to pro-Israel lobby AIPAC’s annual conference on Tuesday.

Hamas had so far not commented on Israel’s accusations.

Earlier, its ally in Gaza, Islamic Jihad, said “we warn the Zionist enemy from committing an aggression against the Gaza Strip”.

“Their leaders should be aware that we will respond with force against their aggression,” it said in a statement, without commenting on who may have been responsible for the rocket.

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