- Egypt - Gaza Strip - Hamas - Israel
Two rockets fired from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip slammed into southern Israel on Tuesday, despite an Egyptian-brokered truce between Israel and the Islamist movement which entered its sixth day.
One of the rockets struck the courtyard of a house in the hard-hit town of Sderot, causing some damage, and another struck a field outside town, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.
He said the rockets were the first to be fired from the Palestinian territory since a truce between Israel and the Gaza Strip's Hamas rulers went into effect on June 19.
Islamic Jihad told AFP its fighters had carried out the attack.
The attack, which caused no casualties, came hours after Israeli troops killed a senior Jihad fighter and another young man in the occupied West Bank, which was not included in the truce.
Overnight Tuesday a mortar round fired from northern Gaza hit Israel, also causing no damage.
The truce, which called on Israel to cease all military operations in Gaza and for Palestinian militants to halt their near-daily rocket and mortar attacks, was also aimed at lifting a year-long blockade of the Gaza Strip.
Israel says it must keep up military operations in the West Bank to protect its citizens, and many feared an escalation in violence there could jeopardise the agreement.
Palestinian medics and security sources identified the two men killed in the dawn raid in the northern West Bank town of Nablus as Tareq Abu Ghali, 24, and Iyad Khanfar, a 21-year-old university student.
An Israeli military spokesman confirmed troops had killed the two in an "exchange of fire," saying both were armed and that Abu Ghali was an Islamic Jihad militant wanted for carrying out attacks on Israel.
Islamic Jihad confirmed Abu Ghali was one of its senior members and vowed revenge, saying the response "to this righteous blood will be in the heart of the Zionist entity (Israel)."
The group, which was responsable for many of the attacks launched from Gaza in the months leading up to the truce, did not agree to the ceasefire but had vowed not to violate it.
A spokesman for Hamas, which has ruled Gaza since seizing power there more than a year ago, on Tuesday called on all Palestinian factions adhering to the truce to "pressure Israel to halt its crimes in the West Bank."
"The resistance in the West Bank has a role in confronting these crimes and we call on the (Palestinian) security services there to allow the resistance to carry out their role in protecting our people from the Zionist attacks," Sami Abu Zuhri told AFP.
In recent months Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, whose forces were driven from Gaza in the Hamas takeover, has been participating in US-backed peace talks with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
The recently revived peace process calls on Palestinians to improve security in the West Bank and, in recent months, Abbas has deployed hundreds of security fores in and around Nablus.
The Israeli military, however, reserves the right to operate anywhere in the West Bank, and its troops still regularly operate in Nablus.
At least 518 people have been killed since Israel and the Palestinians formally relaunched peace talks at a US-hosted conference last November, the vast majority of them Gaza militants, according to an AFP count.