March 15 (UPI) -- Rockets fired into Israel from Gaza, which sparked retaliation against more than 100 targets, were likely fired by mistake, the Israel Defense Forces said Friday.
Israeli officials said the Iron Dome defense system intercepted the rockets fired Thursday, aimed at Tel Aviv, Israel's second-largest city, whose air raid alerts were last activated by a false alarm two years ago.
The IDF said Friday low-level military forces of Hamas, the political organization in control of Gaza, were responsible for the attack -- which was launched by mistake during maintenance work at the missile sites.
Five people were treated for shock but no serious injuries were reported.
Gaza's Interior Ministry, run by Hamas, said the attacks on Israel were "outside the national consensus" and that it would investigate. Although the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group was first blamed, a spokesman for the group said the accusations were "baseless lies and claims."
Israeli forces hit back after the rocket attack, hitting more than 100 Hamas targets in Gaza. The overnight attacks came after a late night meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his defense chiefs in Tel Aviv. Targets included the headquarters responsible for planning attacks in the West Bank, on Israel's eastern border, the IDF said. It added that an underground rocket-making facility in Gaza was hit, as well as a military training site serving as a drone-launching center.
March of Return in Gaza, a group that organizes weekly protests at the Israel-Gaza border, canceled its Friday demonstration in an effort to prevent further escalation.
Local reports said a Hamas base in Khan Younis, Gaza, that houses Hamas naval commandos was struck along with targets in Gaza City and Beit Lahiya in northern Gaza. The Gaza Health Ministry reported four injuries.
The assaults signal an escalation of border violence prior to April 9 elections of the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament. In May, Tel Aviv is scheduled to host the Eurovision Song Contest, a major international competition that is expected to draw many European tourists.