Advertisement

Tel Aviv adjusts to wartime with hostage photos and guns on streets

TEL AVIV (Reuters) - Stores have reopened. There are picnics in the park. Surfers have even returned to the beach. But things are far from normal in Tel Aviv.

Nearly four months have passed since Hamas burst across the Gaza border and rampaged through southern Israel, sparking the devastating war in the Gaza Strip.

The rocket barrages that crippled Tel Aviv, on Israel's Mediterranean coast north of Gaza, at the outset of the war have largely petered out as Israel's military made gains in its fight against Palestinian militant groups. A semblance of normality has returned, but palpable tension remains.

Military reservists walk the street in uniform on their way to or from their bases. Civilians, worried about Palestinian street attacks, are carrying guns in much greater numbers than before the war.

Street corners are plastered with posters of Israeli hostages still held in Gaza. And almost every day, the hostage families and their supporters gather to protest, blocking traffic as they voice demands for their loved ones' return.

After weeks of relative quiet, a huge barrage of rockets was fired on Monday at major cities in central Israel, including Tel Aviv, sending residents running for shelter. Explosions echoed across the city as air defenses shot down incoming rockets. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

(Reporting by Alexandre Meneghini; Editing by Ros Russell)