Hamas launches rocket attack on Jerusalem

Witnesses saw at least three rocket interceptions in the sky

A picture taken on December 4, 2017 shows a general view of the skyline of the old city of Jerusalem, with the Dome of the Rock (L) in the Aqsa Compund.
Palestinian leaders were seeking to rally diplomatic support to persuade US President Donald Trump not to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital after suggestions that he planned to do so. 
East Jerusalem was under Jordanian control from Israel's creation in 1948 until Israeli forces captured it during the 1967 Six-Day War. 
Israel later annexed it in a move not recognised by the international community. / AFP PHOTO / AHMAD GHARABLI
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Hamas on Friday said it had launched rockets at Jerusalem in response to Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

Air raid sirens were heard across the city, and witnesses saw at least three Iron Dome rocket interceptions before sunset, the start of Shabbat, the Jewish day of rest.

Video posted on social media showed people running for cover by the Western Wall as sirens sounded.

Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack that was launched from Gaza, saying it was "in response to the Zionist acts of genocide against civilians".

Rocket attacks in Jerusalem are rare, not only because of its proximity to the Gaza Strip but also because any strike on the ancient city jeopardises Al Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam.

Friday's attack also came as US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan visited Israel as part of a tour.

He said on Friday in Tel Aviv that the Israel-Gaza war, now in its third month, will move to a new phase that is focused on precise targeting the leadership of Hamas and on intelligence-driven operations.

Mr Sullivan later met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, where he was expected to discuss ways to “revamp and revitalise” the Palestinian Authority.

His visit comes as the US continues to support Israel's goal of eradicating Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip.

But international pressure is mounting amid a worsening humanitarian crisis in southern Gaza, where hundreds of thousands of people are crowded with little access to food, water or medical services.

Mr Sullivan announced that Israel had agreed to allow humanitarian aid to enter the coastal enclave through one of its border crossings with Gaza.

On October 7, Hamas militants crossed into Israel and killed about 1,200 people in an unprecedented attack, taking about 240 hostages.

Israel has since engaged in a bombardment of Gaza that has killed more than 18,500 Palestinians.

Latest from the Israel-Gaza war - in pictures

Updated: December 16, 2023, 5:21 AM