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Palestinian resistance launches retaliatory rocket attacks on Tel Aviv, other Israeli cities

Rockets are fired from Gaza into Israel on May 10, 2023. (Photo by Reuters)

Palestinian resistance groups in Gaza have fired a new batch of rockets towards Israeli cities in retaliation for the regime's deadly air raids on the besieged coastal enclave, hitting targets as far as Tel Aviv.

Gaza's joint command of Palestinian resistance groups claimed responsibility for firing rockets at Israel, saying in a statement it had fired “hundreds” of rockets towards the occupied Palestinian territories, including Tel Aviv, in an operation codenamed “revenge of the free.”

"The resistance will remain in all fronts of the homeland as one unit, a sword and a shield for our people, our land and our holy sites,” the statement said.

"The resistance is ready for all options, and if the occupation persists in its aggression and arrogance, black days await it,” it added.

Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem told the Palestinian Shehab news agency that "the joint command’s response was unified and coordinated, and based on field arrangements between all factions."

Israel’s minister of military affairs says at least 400 rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip towards Israel. 

According to Israeli media, explosions were heard in several areas in the vicinity of Tel Aviv. 

The al-Mayadeen television news network reported that rockets had damaged a house in Tel Aviv.

Rocket attacks also caused massive destruction in Ashkelon, with reports saying 16 people were injured there. 

Earlier on Wednesday, the first round of Palestinian rocket attacks targeted towns and settlements around Gaza, including Ashdod, Ashkelon, Sderot, Netivot and Miflassim.

Meanwhile, the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper reported that damage was caused to a building by a rocket in Eshkol. Israel’s Channel 13 said that a house in Sderot was damaged by a rocket falling on it. It also said that a fire broke out in the Ashkelon coast region after a rocket hit the area.  

Reporting on the damage caused by rockets, the Jerusalem Post said Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport’s activity was briefly disrupted following rocket fire from Gaza.

Israeli hospitals announced that at least five settlers were hospitalized following the rocket fire, according to media reports. Israeli media also reported that a house was hit in Sderot.

Dawood Shahab, an Islamic Jihad official, said the rockets were fired in response to Israel’s intensified acts of aggression on Gaza, warning that the Israeli cabinet is responsible for the further escalation of tensions. 

Mosheer al-Masri, a senior member of Hamas resistance movement, told Al Jazeera that the Palestinian response to Israeli air raids on Gaza was “a reflection of the resistance’s covenant with its people and martyrs."

“Its hand [the resistance’s] is unified,” he said, adding that “the door of reckoning with the Israeli occupation was still wide open.”

Israeli strikes continue for second day

The retaliation comes as Israeli warplanes continued to hit targets in Gaza for a second day running.

The regime said it targeted rocket launching infrastructure operated by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the group’s members.

Four of those killed on Wednesday were fighters with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the group said in a statement.

According to the Palestinian ministry of health, a total of 21 people have been killed over the past two days as a result of Israeli bombardments while some 64 others have been wounded in the Israeli raids.

Three senior members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad were among those martyred on Tuesday, prompting calls from the resistance groups to retaliate for the strikes. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said on Tuesday that "assassinating the leadership" in Gaza would bring "greater resistance."

Earlier on Wednesday, Israeli troops also raided the West Bank town of Qabatiya, killing two people. Islamic Jihad said the two martyrs were its members.

The latest deaths bring to around 130 the number of Palestinians killed by the Israeli regime so far this year.

The Israeli army said a soldier was seriously wounded during a raid in the town of Tubas in the northern West Bank early Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel was "ready for the possibility of an expanded campaign and harsh strikes against Gaza," in a meeting with local leaders near the coastal territory.

This comes as Israeli military sources told Reuters the regime had deployed for the first time the David’s Sling, a medium- to long-range anti-missile system designed to shoot down rockets with a range of up to 200 kilometers. 

Israel has closed its two commercial and people crossings with Gaza, a move that would stop the entry of goods, fuel and humanitarian aid.

The latest violence comes on the second anniversary of Israel’s 11-day aggression against Gaza.

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