Israel Says The Hamas Militant Group In Gaza Launched A Rocket At Israel

Mar 25, 2019
Originally published on March 25, 2019 4:38 pm
Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Violence broke out today between Israel and Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Israel says the Hamas militant group launched a rocket from Gaza this morning. It landed on a house north of Tel Aviv, wounding seven people. Then Israel began retaliatory strikes on Gaza. That was followed by more rocket attacks. Hamas late today announced a ceasefire had been reached. Israel has not confirmed that. As NPR's Daniel Estrin reports from Jerusalem, all this comes just two weeks before Israeli elections.

DANIEL ESTRIN, BYLINE: The air raid sirens went off at about 5:20 a.m., then a rocket tore through this home.

(SOUNDBITE OF PEOPLE WALKING THROUGH RUBBLE)

ESTRIN: Robert Wolf, an immigrant from London, salvaged what he could from the rubble.

ROBERT WOLF: This is the real price, and I just hate it. I mean, I nearly lost my family. And if we hadn't have got to the bomb shelter in time, I would now be burying all my family.

ESTRIN: His son, Yoni, also spoke to reporters.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

YONI: (Foreign language spoken).

ESTRIN: He said he's got no desire for revenge, but that the government policy at the moment isn't working. He said, something needs to be done to restore not only Israel's deterrence but also its sanity. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is facing criticism across the political spectrum about increasing tensions with Gaza. The rocket fire came as Netanyahu was visiting Washington. He said he'd hurry back to Israel, but first, he met President Trump and announced that Israel was attacking Gaza.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: And as we speak - as I told you, Mr. President, just now - Israel is responding forcefully to this wanton aggression.

ESTRIN: Israel hit Hamas sites including the office of the group's leader, Ismail Haniyeh. He was not believed to be there. In a statement, he didn't confirm whether Hamas fired the rocket today, but vowed to respond to Israel's attacks with force. Trump backed the Israeli response and offered a gift.

(APPLAUSE)

ESTRIN: He signed a proclamation recognizing Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights - disputed territory captured from Syria over 50 years ago. It's an achievement Netanyahu can show his public as it decides whether to re-elect him two weeks from now, but today's violence eclipsed that. Daniel Estrin, NPR News, Jerusalem. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.