Sat, Jul 12, 2014 - Page 1 News List

Hamas militants target Tel Aviv airport

AFP, TEL AVIV and CAIRO

A missile is launched by the Iron Dome defence system in Ashdod, Israel, yesterday.

Photo: AFP

Three Gaza rockets were shot down over the Tel Aviv area yesterday, as Hamas militants claimed they had fired M75 missiles at the Israeli city’s airport.

All three were shot down by the Iron Dome anti-missile system, the Israeli army said.

“Three rockets were launched at central Tel Aviv. All three were intercepted over the Tel Aviv metropolitan area,” an army statement said.

The rocket fire was claimed by Hamas militants in Gaza who said they had launched “four M75 missiles at Ben Gurion airport,” just outside Tel Aviv.

A spokesman for Israel’s Airport Authority told reporters that Ben Gurion airport had been closed for “nine minutes” during the air raid, but then resumed operations as normal.

Hamas’ armed wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, warned airlines against using Israeli airports.

“We are sending a message to all foreign airlines operating flights into the Zionist entity, asking them to stop flying into the entity because of the dangers surrounding all the airports due to the ongoing war,” the brigades said in a statement.

Witnesses in Tel Aviv said four or five explosions were heard shortly after sirens sounded in the area.

Police reported finding “shrapnel” in Tel Aviv, but no injuries.

Meanwhile, Egypt said yesterday its efforts to halt the violence have met with “stubbornness,” as it appealed to the international community to intervene.

Israel’s aerial military campaign targeting militants in Gaza has killed at least 100 Palestinians and wounded more than 500 since its launch on Tuesday.

Egypt, which signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979, played a key role in mediating ceasefires in past wars between the Jewish state and Hamas.

However, it has signaled a more hands-off approach in the latest conflict, which comes at a time of mounting tensions between Egypt’s new government and Hamas.

The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday that Cairo was finding it difficult to resolve the latest violence.

“Egypt has communicated with all sides to halt violence against civilians and called on them to continue with the truce agreement signed in November 2012,” the ministry said. “Unfortunately, these efforts over the past 10 days have met with stubbornness, with only innocent civilians paying the price.”

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