Israeli air strikes on Gaza came hours after a rocket from the Palestinian enclave hit a house in Tel Aviv and not soon after US President Donald Trump signed a proclamation recognising Israel's claim over the occupied Golan Heights.

Flame and smoke are seen during an Israeli air strike in Gaza City on March 25, 2019.
Flame and smoke are seen during an Israeli air strike in Gaza City on March 25, 2019. (Reuters)

Hamas said it has reached an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire with Israel after a severe exchange of fire on Monday, only two weeks before Israeli elections.

"Egyptian efforts succeeded with a ceasefire between the occupation and the resistance factions," Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said. Rocket sirens were reported an hour after the Palestinians said the ceasefire was reached.

Israel, whose strikes began around the same time Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met US President Donald Trump in Washington, has not yet commented on the ceasefire claim. With Netanyahu at his side on Monday, Trump took the moment to reverse decades of US policy to declare the Golan Heights belonged to Israel.

Israel's military launched strikes on Hamas targets in Gaza, hours after a rocket from the Palestinian enclave hit a house and wounded seven Israelis.

At least seven Palestinians were injured today in the Gaza Strip as a result of Israeli air strikes, Palestinian Ministry of Health spokesperson in Gaza, Ashraf al Qidra, told TRT World.

Unilateral proclamation on Golan

Trump signed a decree on Monday at the start of a meeting with Netanyahu saying the United States recognised Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, territory that Israel seized from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war. 

The decree formalized Trump's statement on March 21 saying it was time for the United States "to fully recognize" Israeli sovereignty over the Golan. 

The move appeared to give Netanyahu a boost ahead of the closely contested April 9 Israeli elections.

'Grave violation'

The UN and other international players remained strong in their earlier positions on Golan.

''The status of Golan has not changed. The UN’s policy on Golan is reflected in the relevant resolutions of the Security Council."

EU reiterated its stance against recognizing Israeli sovereignty over territories including Golan Heights, occupied since 1967.

Turkey strongly condemns the decision of the US administration to recognise Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights, held under Israeli occupation since 1967, a statement issued late on Monday by the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

"This unfortunate decision, which constitutes a grave violation of international law, particularly the United Nations Security Council Resolution 497 (1981), demonstrates that the US administration continues its approach to be part of the problem, rather than part of the solution in the Middle East.

This decision is completely null and void for Turkey and for responsible members of the international community that attach importance to the territorial integrity of Syria and of all the countries in the region." 

Lebanon, which US Secretary of State Mike Pence visited over the past weekend, said the Golan Heights is "Syrian Arab" territory and that "no country can falsify history by transferring" land from one country to another.

The Arab League described Trump's move as ''illegitimate'' while Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said decisions affecting Palestinian sovereignty over Jerusalem or any Arab territory lack legitimacy.

The Syrian regime said that Washington's Golan move was a blatant attack on its sovereignty. 

"In a blatant attack on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria, the president of the US has recognised the annexation of the Syrian Golan," a foreign ministry source said, quoted by state news agency SANA.

TRT World's Courtney Kealy explains what the US decree means.

Air strikes in Gaza

Witnesses and a security source in Gaza told AFP there had been at least two strikes on a site belonging to Hamas's military wing in the west of Gaza.

Hamas' radio station said the Israeli airstrike demolished the offices of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh.

The air strike took place moments after Israel fired a pair of warning shots at the office, a tactic that Israel uses to get people to evacuate targeted buildings.

TRT World's Abubakr al Shamahi brings the latest from Gaza.

Israel's army earlier said a rocket was fired by Hamas from the Rafah area in the south of the enclave.

It hit a house located in the community of Mishmeret, around 20 km north of Tel Aviv, police said.

The rocket would have had to travel some 120 km from Rafah to hit the house.

Rocket fire from Gaza at that distance is rare.

Smoke rises during an Israeli air strike in Gaza City on March 25, 2019.
Smoke rises during an Israeli air strike in Gaza City on March 25, 2019. (Reuters)

Hamas denies accusation

A Hamas official denied Israel's accusation that it was behind Monday's rocket strike, which led Netanyahu to vow a strong response.

"No one from the resistance movements, including Hamas, has an interest in firing rockets from the Gaza towards the enemy," the official told AFP on condition of anonymity, evoking the possibility that it may have been caused by "bad weather."

He added that the same message had been delivered to Egypt, which has acted as a mediator between Israel and Hamas.

Netanyahu said he was cutting short a trip to Washington due to the incident while Israel's army sent reinforcements to the Gaza area.

UN chief urges restraint

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is "gravely concerned" by the recent developments in Israel and the Gaza Strip and urges all sides to exercise maximum restraint, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

"Today's firing of a rocket from Gaza towards Israel is a serious and unacceptable violation. We are aware of the latest reports of firing on Gaza," Dujarric said. 

"We continue to work with Egypt and all concerned parties to try to de-escalate the situation."

Source: TRTWorld and agencies