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Israel's Olmert Warns of Military Response to Gaza Attacks

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has warned Palestinian militants that Israel will respond with force if attacks from the Gaza Strip persist in violation of a recent truce.

Mr. Olmert Tuesday said Israel's restraint thus far against the rocket attacks should not be interpreted as weakness. He said if the calm is not maintained, Israel could retaliate with "full force."

Earlier Tuesday, Israel again closed its border with the Gaza Strip after accusing Palestinian militants of firing another rocket into southern Israel on Monday.

Gaza's Hamas rulers denied any rockets had been launched on Monday from the territory. No group has claimed responsibility for the rocket, which did not cause damage or casualties.

Separately Tuesday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak expressed support for reaching a lasting peace deal in the region soon.

The two leaders made the comments after meeting on the sidelines of a meeting in Greece of representatives of the world's socialist parties (Socialist International).

Palestinian militants have fired several rockets from Gaza into Israeli territory despite the Egyptian-brokered truce that took effect June 19 between Hamas and Israel.

Egypt Tuesday opened its Rafah border crossing with Gaza to allow for the limited passage of Palestinians stranded in Egypt and others seeking medical treatment abroad.

Two small Gaza factions said they launched last week's rockets to protest Israeli military raids in the West Bank, which is not covered by the cease-fire. Hamas has warned that it will take action against anyone violating the truce.