Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip have fired three rockets into
southern Israel, wounding two people and straining a six-day old truce
in the region.
Two of the rockets landed inside the Israeli town of Sderot Tuesday, causing some damage, while a third struck a nearby field.
Islamic Jihad militant group claimed responsibility for the rockets,
saying they were retaliation for an Israeli raid in the West Bank.
Israeli troops killed an Islamic Jihad commander and another
Palestinian man in the city of Nablus before dawn Tuesday. Israel's
military says the two men were killed in a gun battle.
officials called the rocket attacks a "gross violation" of an
Egyptian-brokered truce with Gaza militants that took effect last
Thursday. Hamas militants who rule Gaza accused Israel of provoking the
rocket fire by raiding Nablus. But the group also said it remains
committed to the truce.
The cease-fire agreement between Israel
and Hamas applies specifically to Gaza and does not include the West
Bank. Israel has said it must continue operations against militants in
the West Bank to protect Israeli citizens.
Before dawn Tuesday, Gaza militants also fired a mortar into an empty area of southern Israel, without causing damage.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert met Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in the
Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh Tuesday to discuss solidifying the
Israeli officials say Egypt promised to keep its Rafah
border crossing with Gaza closed until Palestinian militants agree to
release a captured Israeli soldier as part of a prisoner swap.
Mr. Mubarak told Israeli television Tuesday that he believes it is
"unrealistic" for Israel to link the soldier's release to the truce. He
said it is more important to stop the deadly fighting in Gaza and
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.