Remains of rocket fired from Gaza found in Tel Aviv suburb
Police sappers called after debris discovered in Holon; additional Iron Dome batteries reportedly deployed throughout country
The remains of a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip toward central Israel were found Friday in the Tel Aviv suburb of Holon.
Police said the rocket was found in an open area in the densely populated metropolitan area and that police sappers were on the scene.
The rocket was one of two projectiles fired from Gaza Thursday evening, setting off sirens in the Gush Dan area and leading Israel to strike over 100 targets in the Palestinian territory in response. Nine rockets were then fired from Gaza at border communities in Israel, six of which were intercepted.
Palestinian media and the Kan public broadcaster later reported that Israel and the Gaza-ruling Hamas terror group had reached a ceasefire. There was no confirmation from Israel.
Despite the reported ceasefire, additional Iron Dome missile defense batteries were deployed Friday throughout Israel, according to Channel 13 news. The army declined to comment on the report.
זירת הנפילה של רקטת האמ 75 בחולון. pic.twitter.com/9DyEllZEBh
— Or Heller אור הלר (@OrHeller) March 15, 2019
There was has been no claim of responsibility for the rockets. Both Hamas and the Iran-backed Islamic Jihad terror group denied they were behind the launches. An army assessment found that the rockets were possibly fired toward the coastal city by mistake, and that low-level Hamas forces were responsible.
The rocket fire — the first toward Tel Aviv since the 2014 Gaza war — came just weeks ahead of general elections in Israel and prompted calls from political figures for a tough response.
Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who heads the New Right party, blasted the Israeli response as “pathetic.”
“I have to tell the truth, I cannot imagine that after a mistake attack on Moscow, Putin would have explained to the Russians that the enemy ‘did it by mistake,'” Bennett said in a statement.
Bennett criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is also defense minister, over his policy toward Hamas.
“They laugh at us. It’s not being taken seriously,” said Bennett, who unsuccessfully lobbied for the defense portfolio after Avigdor Liberman’s resignation in November to protest a ceasefire with Hamas.
Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon on the other hand expressed backing for Netanyahu’s handling of violence in Gaza, while warning the situation was “heating up” there.
“This problem needs to be solved,” he said.
Kahlon also said Israel should “completely separate” from Gaza, but did not specify what this would mean. Israel pulled evacuated all the settlements in Gaza and pulled out its military forces in 2005.
Jacob Magid and agencies contributed to this report.