Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu canceled his trip to Washington, DC, and later returned to the Jewish state on Monday after a missile strike in the Gaza Strip hit a house in central Israel and injured seven people.
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The rocket fired from the Gaza Strip in the early morning destroyed a residential building and left it is in ruins. A shattered crib lay among the rubble, and two family dogs died in the explosion.
"It's a miracle that no one was killed," said Assi Dvilanski, a paramedic of Magen David Adom, who was one of the first responders at the scene.
The ambulance service said he had treated a total of seven people, including two women who were moderately wounded. The others, including two children and a toddler, had mild wounds.
The Israeli military said militants from the ruling Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip had fired the rocket from one of its launchers in the southern Gaza Strip near Rafah.
Maj. Mika Lifshitz, a military spokeswoman, said it was a self-made rocket with a range of 75 miles. She added that two tank and infantry brigades were to be mobilized on the Gaza front, with limited reserve formation.
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In anticipation of Israel's strong response, Hamas leaders in Gaza seem to have gone underground. Witnesses reported that Hamas evacuated its staff from government buildings. Hamas also announced that its Gaza chief Yehiya Sinwar had canceled a scheduled public speech. Israel also completed its main crossings to Gaza and imposed restrictions on fishing off the coast of Gaza.
The attack on Monday took place ten days after rockets from Gaza were fired at the heavily populated commercial capital of Tel Aviv. The Israeli military struck back and the sides seemed to face another confrontation. However, Hamas leaders in Gaza said the rocket had been accidentally fired and calm had been restored quickly.
There was no immediate responsibility for Monday's attack, but it seems much harder to dismiss the recent incident as further misfiring.
Gaza is controlled by Hamas, an Islamic militant Palestinian group seeking the destruction of Israel owns a large arsenal of missiles and missiles that can strike deep into Israel. The territory is home to other Palestinian militant groups, including the Islamic Jihad, an armed Iran-backed organization with a massive missile arsenal.
Israel and Hamas are fierce enemies and have fought three wars since the group took power in the Strip Minor outbreaks have been sporadic since Israel and Hamas led their last war in 2014. Israel blames Hamas for all the fire that comes from the coastal area.
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An Israeli-Egyptian blockade, combined with sanctions from the rival Palestinian Authority and mismanagement of the Hamas administration, has triggered an economic crisis. The inhabitants of the territory have little desire for a renewed war with Israel.
Instead of a complete conflict, Hamas has attempted to end the blockade through a violent weekly protest movement along the Israeli-Gaza border fence, which started a year ago. It has also largely failed. About 190 Palestinians and one Israeli soldier were killed during weekly rallies.
Egypt, Qatar and the United Nations are trying to negotiate a long-term ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, but these efforts still need to be agreed. At the same time, violence in the West Bank increased last week with a stabbing and shooting attack that killed two Israelis near a West Bank settlement and Israel's killing of two Palestinians who were attacked.
] The Associated Press contributed to this report.