JERUSALEM — Two rockets were fired at Tel Aviv from the Gaza Strip on Thursday, the Israeli military said, the first time since 2014 that rockets had reached the area.
Israel’s Iron Dome missile-defense system detected the incoming rockets and sounded alarms, which were heard across metropolitan Tel Aviv.
The military initially reported that one rocket had been intercepted and the other had landed in an open area, but it later withdrew the statement. Its later statement said there had been no interceptions, gave no information on whether interceptor missiles were fired, and did not say what happened to either rocket.
No injuries or damages were reported, but residents heard loud blasts. The mayor of Tel Aviv ordered bomb shelters opened.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rushed to the military’s headquarters in Tel Aviv to be briefed on the attack. Mr. Netanyahu is campaigning for re-election on April 9.
The two Gaza militant Islamic factions that have engaged in frequent attacks on Israel, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, both denied responsibility.
Hamas, which controls the coastal enclave, has been in negotiations with Israel, through Egyptian intermediaries, for months. Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a more militant rival, is said to be impatient with the pace of those talks, and has at times used attacks on Israel to make itself heard.
Israeli analysts suggested one possible reason that Hamas would have allowed the attack, or even carried it out. Protests against conditions in Gaza were held in Gaza City on Thursday in defiance of Hamas officials, and local security forces were videotaped beating some demonstrators with clubs, leading to speculation that Hamas might welcome an exchange of fire with Israel to divert attention from the protests.
Jason Greenblatt, President Trump’s special envoy to the Middle East, did not hesitate to conclude that Hamas was responsible.
“Hamas violently suppresses its own people demonstrating against Hamas’ rule & failures today and NOW fires rockets at cities in Israel,” he wrote on Twitter. “OUTRAGEOUS! This is what prevents the world from helping the people of Gaza! We strongly support Israel in defense of its citizens. Always!”
A spokesman for Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Daoud Shehab, denied it had any role in the rockets. “The factions have no intention to escalate,” he said.
Yaakov Amidror, a former Israeli national security adviser and retired general, said that Israeli intelligence would try to pin down a culprit, but that the military could always revert to its Hamas-is-accountable policy, holding Hamas responsible for controlling Gaza.
Neither Israel nor Hamas had any desire for a new war, Mr. Amidror said, but the delicate standoff between Israel and Gaza meant that the potential counterstrikes ran the risk of getting out of hand.
“Now it’s very much in the hands of the reaction of the I.D.F.,” he said, referring to the military, “and their reaction to the reaction.”