Organisers: Palestinians Call Off Protests Along Gaza Border After Israeli Raid

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A cross-border escalation between Israel and Gaza's ruling Hamas group wound down on Friday after a rare rocket attack on Tel Aviv from the Palestinian territory triggered scores of retaliatory strikes by the Israeli military. The Israeli military declined to comment on the reports.

Andrew Carey reported from Jerusalem and Ibrahim Dahman from Gaza.

Earlier this week, Israel struck Hamas targets in Gaza in response to rocket fire on southern Israel, near the border.

Two long-range rockets fired from Gaza exploded in Tel-Aviv during rush hour Thursday evening. No casualties were reported.

Video spread online appearing to show air defence missiles climbing into the sky above high-rise buildings as sirens wailed in the background.

Tel Aviv mayor Ron Huldai told local television that one of the Gaza rockets "apparently fell into the sea, the other hit somewhere but not in Tel Aviv".

Following the first Israeli airstrikes, several additional rounds of rocket fire were launched into Israel.

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who also serves as the country's defense minister, met with his military chiefs to decide on Israel's response.

However, following the start of Israel's airstrikes against Gaza, the IDF confirmed via Twitter that the rockets were those of Hamas.

These included a rocket manufacturing site, a naval post and weapons facility, and a Hamas headquarters, it said.

More than 40 locations were targeted with about 100 strikes, the source said.

In Gaza, there was no immediate claim of responsibility. "People are afraid of bombs -- like in a war".

Militants fired two rockets towards Israel's main metropolitan area, both of which landed in open ground, the IDF said.

The wave of violence in Gaza erupted on 3 December after a Hamas commander was killed in a covert Israeli operation. "No interceptions were made by aerial defense systems".

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Nearly daily exchanges between Israel and the Palestinian territory have threatened a wider escalation in hostilities over the past few weeks.

Protests will resume in the coming weeks, with particular preparation for the one-year anniversary of their beginning on March 30, it said. Israel holds Gaza's Hamas rulers responsible for all fire out of the territory.

Hamas denied involvement, saying the launches took place as its leaders met Egyptian delegates about efforts to secure a long-term ceasefire with Israel.

Tens of thousands of Palestinians converge along the barrier that separates Gaza from Israel.

Shortly before the rocket attack, Hamas police on Thursday violently broke up a rare protest by demonstrators angry about the dire living conditions in Gaza.

"Overnight, Israeli warplanes hit some 100 Hamas targets in Gaza".

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