Rocket fired from Gaza explodes in southern Israel

Wednesday 27 February 2013 14.36
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Israeli security forces stand guard in the southern city of Ashkelon after the strike
Israeli security forces stand guard in the southern city of Ashkelon after the strike
It is the first rocket attack from Gaza on Israel since November
It is the first rocket attack from Gaza on Israel since November

A rocket has exploded in southern Israel in the first such attack by militants in Gaza since a truce ended a week of cross-border fighting in November.

The rocket caused some damage to a road near the city of Ashkelon but no injuries, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.

Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a militant group in Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's West Bank-based Fatah movement, claimed responsibility for the strike, the Palestinian Ma'an news agency said.

There was no military response from Israel.

The attack came after the death on Saturday of a Palestinian detainee in Israeli custody, which triggered protests in the West Bank.

The death in disputed circumstances of Arafat Jaradat and a hunger strike by four other Palestinian inmates have stoked tensions ahead of a planned visit next month by US President Barack Obama.

Israeli troops shot and wounded five Palestinians during confrontations with protesters in the Bethlehem area yesterday and a 15-year-old boy was in critical condition.

At the end of last year, Egyptian mediators helped achieve a truce after eight days of Israeli air strikes amid rocket attacks from the coastal territory.

Keywords: israel, gaza