Israel, Gaza Militants Halt Attacks

Posted October 25th, 2012 at 3:25 am (UTC-5)
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Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip say an informal truce brokered by Egypt has taken hold after days of rocket fire and retaliatory airstrikes.

The Israeli military said Thursday that no rocket fire had been detected since late Wednesday, and that it had not carried out any airstrikes against Gaza since Wednesday morning.

Two days of Palestinian rocket and mortar fire into southern Israel damaged homes and wounded several laborers working field near the border. Israel says the barrage included about 80 rockets.

Israeli airstrikes against Gaza killed four Palestinians, including three members of the ruling Hamas movement.

Hamas and a smaller militant group called the Popular Resistance Committees claimed responsibility for the rocket attacks on Israel, saying they were a response to Israeli aggression.

Hamas members accused Israel of seeking revenge on Gaza for hosting a brief visit by the emir of Qatar earlier Tuesday. It was the first by a head of state to Gaza since Hamas seized power there in 2007. The militant group said the Qatari emir's visit was a victory in its efforts to end its political and economic isolation.

The Gaza-Israel border has seen occasional outbreaks of fighting between militants and Israeli forces since the two sides fought a brief war from December 2008 to January 2009.