Rocket explodes in Israel, first attack from Gaza since truce

Reuters & AFP, Tuesday 26 Feb 2013

In first attack since Egypt brokered Hamas-Israel truce in November last year, rocket lands in southern city of Ashkelon, in suspected link to recent protests over death of Palestinian in Israeli jail; no casualties reported

Rocket launched by Palestinian militants towards Israel makes its way from the northern Gaza Strip, seen from the Israel Gaza Border, southern Israel, November 2012 (Photo: AP)

A rocket exploded in southern Israel on Tuesday, causing damage in the first such attack by militants in the Gaza Strip since a truce in November, Israeli police said.

The rocket caused some damage to a road near the city of Ashkelon but no injuries. The strike follows confrontations between Israeli forces and Palestinian protesters in the West Bank since the death on Saturday of a detainee in Israeli custody, Arafat Jaraadat, 30.

"The rocket fell early in the morning near Ashkelon and did some damage to a road, without hurting anyone," said police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.

It was the first such attack since the end of an Israeli operation late November, during which more than a thousand rockets were fired into Israeli territory from the Gaza Strip, which is controlled by the Islamist group Hamas.

The two sides finally agreed a truce on November 21 following the eight-day Israeli military operation inside Gaza.

The violence killed 177 Palestinians, about a hundred of them civilians, as well as six Israelis, four of whom were civilians, according to figures issued by the two sides.

Tuesday's rocket fire comes at a time when tensions are particularly high following the weekend death of a Palestinian prisoner in an Israeli jail, who the Palestinians say had been tortured.

Thousands of Palestinians thronged the West Bank village of Sair on Monday for the funeral of Arafat Jaradat, a 30-year-old father of two and member of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.

Both the Palestinians and the United Nations special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, Robert Serry, have called for an independent inquiry into his death.

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