Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu leaves the room after delivering a statement to the media in Tel Aviv, Israel. -AP Photo

JERUSALEM: A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip on Thursday struck Rishon LeTzion, some 15 kilometres (nine miles) southeast of Tel Aviv, the Israeli army said, but there were no injuries or damage.

The strike marked the furthest by far of hundreds of rockets fired by Gaza militants into southern Israel since the Jewish state launched a massive operation in the Hamas-controlled enclave on Wednesday.

Experts said it was most likely an Iranian-built Fajr 5 from Hamas's arsenal, which have a range of up to 75 kilometres (46 miles). “There was a rocket that hit in an open field in the Rishon LeTzion area.

There were no injuries or damage,” an army spokeswoman said.

The city, Israel's fourth largest with a population of some 228,000, lies about 50 kilometres (30 miles) north of the Gaza Strip.

The attack came as Israel carried out waves of air strikes on Gaza, killing 15 Palestinians, at least seven of them Hamas militants in a 24-hour period.

Over the same period, militants fired more than 200 rockets at Israel, killing three people and injuring 19, of them three soldiers.

The Qassam Brigades assumed responsibility, saying in a statement they “launched a local rocket at Tel Aviv”, which could imply the rocket was in fact not a Fajr 5.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said earlier Thursday the Israeli air force had “caused significant damage to the Fajr rockets aimed at Tel Aviv, the (surrounding) Dan region and north of that.”

He also pledged to take “whatever action is necessary” to defend Israeli citizens from Palestinian rocket attacks, in a statement to the media.


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