Two rockets fired into Israel from Gaza

AFP , Saturday 26 Mar 2011

Cross-border scuffles continue between Israel and Gaza amid fears of serious escalation

An Israeli police officer holds a long-range Grad rocket, fired from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, after it hit the Israeli city of Ashdod 24 March 2011. (Reuters)

Palestinian resistance fighters fired two rockets from Gaza into Israel on Saturday, damaging a house, while an explosion tore apart a factory in the strip, officials said.

There were no injuries reported in either incident but the fire came amid attempts to restore calm to the Gaza Strip border after a spate of rockets attacks and retaliatory air strikes in the past week.

"Two rockets were fired into southern Israel and one landed next to a house," a military spokeswoman said.

Israeli media said the one rocket exploded three metres (yards) from the house in one of the Israeli communities next to Gaza, damaging the building but not harming the eight family members who were sleeping inside.

Also Saturday an explosion seriously damaged a soft drinks factory in the Zeitun neighbourhood of Gaza city, Palestinian security officials said, blaming an Israeli tank shell.

However, the military claimed none of its forces were operating in the area at the time.

Visiting the site where the rocket hit, Israeli southern front commander Major General Tal Russo said it appeared Hamas was unable to impose calm on Gaza.

"There is currently anarchy on the other side side," the Ynet website quoted him as saying. "Hamas is finding it difficult to turn the clock back."

The effects of "Cast Lead are eroding and the memories on the other side are fading," he said after being asked if Israel would again launch another wide-scale military operation to halt the rocket fire.

"The aim (of Cast Lead) was to allow people to live normal lives and this is not exactly normal," the website quoted him as saying.

He was referring to the three-week bloody Israeli war on Gaza over New Years 2009 in which around 1,400 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and 13 Israelis were killed.

On Friday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that Israel would respond with "great force" against continued rocket attacks. But Defence Minister Ehud Barak, touring the border, claimed Israel would end its air strikes if the rockets stopped.

Israel has been engaging in numerous activities beyond its declared borders of 'combing' and bulldozing land owned by Palestinians in the area.

Short link: