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Seven injured as Gaza rocket hits home in central Israel

A general view shows a damaged house after it was hit by a rocket in the community of Mishmeret (25 March 2019)

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Israeli officials say the house in Mishmeret caught fire after being by the rocket

Seven people have been injured after a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit a house in central Israel, police say.

The rocket came down at 05:20 local time (03:20 GMT) on Monday in an area north of the city of Tel Aviv.

This is the furthest a Palestinian rocket has reached in Israel since the 2014 conflict with militants in Gaza.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is cutting short a trip to the US over the incident, has vowed to respond with force.

So far no-one has said they carried out the attack.

A week and a half ago, two rockets were fired towards Tel Aviv and nobody was hurt. The Israeli military responded with dozens of air strikes across Gaza, which injured four people.

The Hamas militant group, which controls Gaza, and Israeli military officials later said those rockets had been launched “by mistake”.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said the rocket hit a house in the community of Mishmeret, about 20km (12 miles) north-east of Tel Aviv, causing it to catch fire and injuring several members of one family.

The Haaretz newspaper cited medical officials as saying that among the wounded were three children – a 12-year-old girl, three-year-old boy and six-month-old baby.

Video shared by the IDF on Twitter showed the badly damaged house.

The rocket also triggered air sirens across the Sharon and Emek Hefer regions.

“This was a criminal attack on Israel and we will respond forcefully,” Prime Minister Netanyahu said after announcing he would return early from Washington once he had met US President Donald Trump.

The BBC’s Yolande Knell in Jerusalem says the latest rocket fire has dramatically raised tensions in the region, just two weeks before Israel holds a general election.

Mr Netanyahu is currently locked in a tight battle with his main rival, former IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz.

The prime minister’s campaign for a fifth term has been overshadowed by possible indictment in three corruption cases.

Seven injured as Gaza rocket hits home in central Israel}

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