Netanyahu Rushed Off Stage at Election Rally During Gaza Rocket Attack

Netanyahu was attending a campaign rally in Ashdod. Later, Israel struck some 15 Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip

PM Netanyahu evacuated after rocket alert sirens ring out during a campaign event in Ashdod, September 10, 2019

Two rockets fired from Gaza were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system Tuesday night, after sirens interrupted a campaign rally attended by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Speaking before hundreds of supporters in the port city of Ashdod ahead of Israel's election next Tuesday, Netanyahu was taken off the stage moments after the sirens began. Rocket alerts also sounded in Ashkelon, another large population center in southern Israel.

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In response, Israeli aircraft struck some 15 Hamas 'terror targets' in the northern and central Gaza Strip, including military infrastructures meant to manufacture weapons, several locations in the organization's naval compound and a terror tunnel, the Israel Defense Forces said overnight Tuesday.

The army added it would continue to act against any attempt to harm Israel's citizens and views the Hamas terror organization accountable for everything that takes place in the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinians said Israel had carried out several airstrikes near the city of Deir al Balah in central Gaza, in addition to striking in the northern coastal enclave. 

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Earlier, Netanyahu held security consultations with senior defense establishment officials after rocket were fired toward Israel.

This is the latest event in developing tensions on Israel's border with both Gaza and Lebanon, as the country enters the final week of its redux election campaign.

Hamas's military branch reported an Israeli drone had been downed in the night between Monday and Tuesday in the coastal enclave. The movement had managed to access information regarding the unmanned aircraft mission, Hamas said. The IDF later confirmed the drone had fallen in Gaza. 

On Sunday, a projectile was fired from Gaza but failed to reach Israel, landing inside the Strip. This came one day after the IDF said it carried out several airstrikes in Gaza, including on a Hamas naval base and two complexes of the organization's aerial command.

According to the IDF, the strikes were in response to a drone attack earlier on Saturday, in which a Gaza drone entered Israeli airspace and dropped explosives on a military vehicle by the border fence.

A few hours earlier on Saturday, an Israeli military aircraft fired at what it identified as the Gaza cell that launched the drone attack.

On Friday night, Israel struck several Hamas targets in Gaza after five rockets were launched from the Strip overnight Friday, targeting Hamas military positions near the Israeli border with aircraft and tank fire. The fire was an apparent response to the death of two Palestinian teenagers killed by Israeli fire during weekly March of Return border protests.

There have also been continuing tensions between Hezbollah and Israel along the Israel-Lebanon border, after an Israeli drone attack on a Hezbollah site in a Beirut suburb - although both sides have until now managed to prevent an escalation.