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Israel strikes Gaza in retaliation for rocket attack near Netanyahu campaign event

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FILE PHOTO: Rockets are launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019.
FILE PHOTO: Rockets are launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Khalil Hamra   -   Khalil Hamra
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The Israeli airforce carried out strikes in Gaza early on Thursday, just hours after rocket fire interrupted a campaign event of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the southern city of Ashkelon.

"In response to the rocket fired from Gaza at Israeli civilians earlier tonight, the Israeli Air Force just struck a number of Hamas terror targets in Gaza," Israel Defense Forces said on Twitter.

The rocket was intercepted by the Iron Dome defence system, the Israeli army said on Wednesday evening.

The attack forced Netanyahu to halt a campaign rally ahead of the primaries of his Likud Party this Thursday.

Television footage showed the Prime Minister and his wife Sara rushed off from the stage amid air red sirens.

A similar incident happened in September when Netanyahu was in the nearby city of Ashdod campaigning for the second general Israeli election of the year.

The Israeli Prime Minister faces his first serious internal challenge from rival Gideon Saar in his more than a decade in power.

Israel will hold its third election on March 2 in less than a year, hoping to end the worst political crisis in its history.