Palestinian militants have launched their first attack on Israel since a November truce.
The al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades says it fired a rocket fired from Gaza into the southern city of Ashkelon, in retaliation over the death of a Palestininan man in an Israeli jail.
No-one was injured by the attack. The head of security in the Ashkelon area, Yossi Atia, described the incident as a total surprise:“It was quiet. There’ve been no hits here since Israel lauched its “Pillars of Defence system,” he said.
Israel has called on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to urge greater control of militant groups but in response he has blamed Israel for escalating tensions in the West Bank.
Speaking to the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Executive Committee, Abbas said Israel needs to take steps to insure the calm by releasing Palestinian political prisoners.
“If the prisoners were not still being held, there would not be demonstrations. If the masses of settlers stop going to villages to burn crops and kill people then nobody would attack them,” he said.
The death in disputed circumstances of a Palestinian detainee in Israeli custody which triggered protests in the occupied West Bank and a hunger strike by four other Palestinian inmates, have raised tensions ahead of a planned visit next month by
U.S. President Barack Obama.