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In an unusual step that indicated Hamas was attempting to prevent further escalation, the Hamas Interior Ministry said the rocket fire went "against the national consensus" and promised to take action against the perpetrators.

But it rattled Israeli nerves ahead of an April 9 election in which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seeking a fifth term on the strength of his national security and diplomatic credentials.

Not long after the IDF began its assault, air raid sirens sounded in some Israeli communities bordering the Gaza Strip.

Islamic Jihad and the Popular Resistance Committees, two smaller Gaza armed factions, also denied responsibility.

A post on social media apparently showed two rockets streaking through the night sky above Tel Aviv.

According to media reports, both United Nations and Egyptian officials were seeking to prevent a violent escalation.

Notably, the Hamas said earlier in a statement, quoted by Reuters, they were "not responsible for the firing of the rockets tonight towards the enemy".

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"The alert and warning systems operated as required".

Hamas's so-called military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, not only denied it was behind the rocket launchings but said the attacks on Israel came while Hamas members were meeting with Egyptian officials over the Gaza truce.

Sirens were triggered Thursday evening in central Israel, as two rockets from Gaza were fired at the heart of the country for the first time since a major conflict in 2014, signaling a possible dramatic escalation of violence by terror groups in the Strip just weeks before the Knesset elections. "No interceptions were made by aerial defense systems". It would be the first time that Tel Aviv has been targeted by rocket fire since a 2014 war against Gaza militants.

An Iron Dome Missile Defense battery set up in the southern Israeli city of Sderot fires an intercepting missile. "No damage or injuries were reported". "There are no special instructions for the civilian home front".

The Israeli military has concluded that the militant Hamas group of Gaza fired two rockets toward the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv. The official said he had "no idea" who fired rockets toward Tel Aviv. This reporter, based on the northern Tel Aviv coastline, heard one large blast following the rocket siren.

Political observers raised concerns that the rockets fired from Gaza may be used as a pretext for Israel to launch a military assault on the besieged Palestinian territory.

Aaron Klein is Breitbart's Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. Follow him on Facebook.