Rocket fired from Gaza hits house in Israel, wounding six people

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is to cut short his US visit after Israeli military says rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hits home north of Tel Aviv

Police and medics said a home was hit and caught fire, and six people were wounded
Police and medics said a home was hit and caught fire, and six people were wounded

A rocket fired from Gaza has struck a home in central Israel wounding six people, Israeli officials said. 

The sounds of air raid sirens woke up the residents of Sharon area on Monday and a loud explosion followed. The Israeli military said it identified a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip and was investigating.

Police and medics said a home was hit and caught fire, and six people were wounded.

The incident in Mishmeret, an agricultural settlement town north of Tel Aviv, comes at a time of high tension before the anniversary of Gaza border protests and an April 9 election campaign in Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is seeking a fifth term in next month's ballot, cut short his visit to Washington after the rocket attack.

According to The Jerusalem Post, Netanyahu said he will "respond forcefully" against Hamas.

"I spoke to the Chief of Staff, head of the Shin Bet and head of intelligence and that he sees this as a criminal act against the state of Israel," he said.

The incident also comes 10 days after rockets were fired towards Tel Aviv. Gaza's Hamas leaders said they were fired accidentally.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Monday's incident. Explosions were heard in central Israel as air raid sirens wailed.

Israel's ambulance service said it was treating six of the building's occupants for wounds.

Gaza has been under control of Hamas since 2007. The group won a decisive victory in parliamentary elections a year before, but western governments refused to recognise their win.

In June 2007, Hamas fought against a preemptive coup by its rival Fatah, which controls the Palestinian Authority, resulting in driving it out of the strip.

The same summer saw Israel and Egypt impose an ongoing land, naval and air blockade on the coastal enclave. Israel has also waged three offensives on Gaza since December 2008. The last such offensive was in 2014, in which more than 2,000 Palestinians - the majority of them civilians - were killed.

The 52-day war also severely damaged Gaza's already weak infrastructure, leading the United Nations to state that the strip would be "uninhabitable" by 2020.

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