Middle East

Hamas rockets target airport, cities in Israel – Middle East Monitor

The armed wing of Palestinian resistance group Hamas fired rockets against an airport and major cities in Israel, including Tel Aviv, the group said on Thursday, Anadolu Agency reported.

The Al-Qassam Brigades group said in a statement that it had launched 250 Ayyash missiles towards Ramon Airport in southern Israel, about 220 kilometers (137 miles) from Gaza.

Pointing out that the missiles’ range was greater than 250 km and underlining their “destructive power,” the statement said their launch was “a victory for Al-Aqsa” and part of the group’s response to the “assassination of our heroic leaders and engineers.”

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The Ayyash missile was named after Yahya Ayyash, one of the group’s most prominent commanders, assassinated by Israel in 1996.

Al-Qassam also warned international airlines to “immediately stop their flights to any airport within the geography of occupied Palestine.”

It also said in a separate statement that the rocket salvos had struck a number of Israeli cities and towns including Tel Aviv, Beersheba, Netivot, Tel Nouf base and the Nevatim military base.

Earlier, the Hebrew daily Maariv said Israeli authorities ordered incoming flights headed to Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv to be redirected to the Mitzpe Ramon airport in the south of the country.

“The flights coming from Ben Gurion Airport were redirected to Mitzpe Ramon Airport due to the security situation,” the newspaper said.

On the other hand, the Haaretz newspaper reported that a number of international airlines canceled their flights to Israel due to deteriorating security resulting from the rocket fire from Gaza.

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Ongoing Israeli attacks on Gaza killed 11 more Palestinians as of Thursday, raising the death toll to 83, the Palestinian Health Ministry said in a statement.

Fatalities include 17 children and seven women, while a total of 487 people were injured to date, the ministry statement said.

Tensions have been running high since an Israeli court last week ordered the eviction of Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and annexed the entire city in 1980, in a move that has never been recognized by the international community.

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