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Hamas Launches Rockets At Tel Aviv Amid Escalating Israeli Offensive

Hamas rockets have targeted Tel Aviv for the first time in months, intensifying conflict amid Israel’s ongoing military campaign.

Hamas fired rockets from Gaza towards Tel Aviv on Sunday, marking the first attack on the city in months. This show of defiance comes over seven months into Israel’s extensive air, sea, and ground offensive against the militant group.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage from the long-range rocket attack, which had not been seen since January. Hamas’ military wing claimed responsibility for the attack.

Throughout the day, Palestinian militants intermittently launched rockets and mortar rounds at border communities. The military arm of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group also claimed to have fired rockets at nearby areas.

The Israeli military confirmed that eight projectiles were launched from the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where Israeli forces had recently conducted an incursion. Several of the projectiles were intercepted.

Earlier on Sunday, aid trucks began entering Gaza from southern Israel under a new agreement to bypass the Rafah crossing with Egypt. Israeli forces had seized the Palestinian side of the crossing earlier this month. It remains uncertain if humanitarian groups could access the aid due to ongoing hostilities.

Egypt has refused to reopen its side of the Rafah crossing until control is returned to the Palestinians. Following a call between U.S. President Joe Biden and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, Egypt agreed to temporarily divert traffic through Israel’s Kerem Shalom crossing, Gaza’s main cargo terminal. However, the Kerem Shalom crossing has been largely inaccessible because of the Israeli offensive in Rafah.

The conflict between Israel and Hamas has led to nearly 36,000 Palestinian deaths, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry, which does not differentiate between civilians and fighters. The Health Ministry reported that 81 bodies had been brought to hospitals over the past 24 hours due to Israeli strikes. Approximately 80% of Gaza’s 2.3 million residents have fled their homes, with severe hunger widespread. U.N. officials have indicated that parts of the territory are experiencing famine conditions.

The current war was sparked by a Hamas attack on Israel on October 7, in which militants killed around 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and took approximately 250 hostages. Hamas still holds about 100 hostages and the remains of around 30 others, following the release of most during a cease-fire last year.

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