Hamas threatens rocket attack on Israel’s Ben-Gurion international airport
TEL AVIV: The armed
wing of Hamas has threatened an imminent attack on Israel’s main airport in
response to Israeli airstrikes on Gaza that have now reportedly killed 100
The Izz el-Deen
al-Qassam Brigades warned they planned to fire rockets at Tel Aviv's Ben-Gurion
international airport and they urged airlines to divert their flights for the
safety of passengers.
A spokesman for Israel’s
Airports Authority said activity at Ben Gurion was briefly halted after an air
raid siren sounded, but operations has since resumed. The Israeli army launched
an offensive, named Operation Protective Edge, on Tuesday targeting Hamas
militants in the wake of persistent rocket attacks from Gaza into Israel.
With no end to the
violence in sight, US President Barack Obama has told Israeli Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu that Washington would be willing to help negotiate a truce. Netanyahu
has said international pressure will not stop his country acting against
militants and the operation will continue until Gaza rocket fire is halted.
Hamas health ministry
spokesman Ashraf al Qudra was quoted by AFP as saying 100 Palestinians had been
killed since then after 11 people were killed in airstrikes on Friday. Overnight
the military bombarded the city of Rafah, killing six people. Five of them,
including a seven-year-old child, died in a strike on the home of an alleged
Palestinian officials most of the victims over the past four days have been
civilians, many of them children. The Israeli military says more than 570
rockets have been fired into Israel since Tuesday alone, but there have so far
been no Israeli fatalities.
Many rockets, including
three spotted over Tel Aviv on Friday, have been intercepted by Israel’s partly
US-funded Iron Dome missile defence system. However, one struck a petrol
station in the Israeli city of Ashdod in the early hours of the morning,
triggering a major blaze.
The Israeli fire
service said several people were injured in the attack, one of them seriously.
One witness told Sky News’ Alex Rossi he was filling up his car when air raid
sirens went off. “We heard a huge explosion and after (that) a big ball of fire
and (there were) a lot of people injured,” he said. “We are lucky to be alive.”
For the first time at
least one rocket was also reportedly launched from southern Lebanon which,
according to Israeli army spokesman Lt Col Peter Lerner, struck Israel's
northern border, prompting the military to respond with artillery fire.