Hamas Slams Rocket Attacks, Abides by Truce

GAZA CITY – Israel kept commercial goods crossings into the Gaza Strip closed after a Palestinian rocket attack the day before tested a week-old truce and was slammed by the territory’s Hamas rulers.

Sacked Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya told reporters after Friday prayers that the Islamist movement remained committed to the ceasefire.

"The factions and the people accepted the truce in order to realise their interests, first in halting the Israeli aggression and second in lifting the siege. So we want everyone to respect this agreement," he said.

Two mortar rounds were also fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip on Friday, a military spokesman said, though he could not confirm where they hit. Army radio said they landed in open fields near the border without wounding anyone.

On Thursday Palestinian militants fired two rockets, one of which struck a field near the hard-hit southern Israeli town of Sderot without causing either casualties or damage.

That attack was claimed by the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a group loosely linked to the Fatah party of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas whose forces were driven from Gaza when Hamas seized control there more than a year ago.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri criticized the attack, accusing "parties in Ramallah" — the West Bank town where Abbas’s government is based — of ordering the strike to help Israel maintain its blockade of the territory.

Abu Zuhri vowed that local authorities would "take all actions necessary to protect the national consensus" on the truce, and said the group behind the attack "bore full responsibility, along with Israel, for the siege."

The Israeli military had earlier said goods crossings into Gaza would remain shut following Thursday’s rocket attack.

"The Karni and Sufa crossings remain closed, but the Nahal Oz fuel crossing is open," Israeli military spokesman Peter Lerner told AFP, adding that the opening of the goods crossings "would depend on the security situation."

The Erez passenger crossing, used by diplomats, journalists, and Gazans requiring medical care in Israel or abroad, also stayed open.

Thursday’s rocket was the fourth to hit Israel since an Egyptian-brokered truce between the Jewish state and Palestinian militants took effect on June 19,

Palestinians and UN officials have meanwhile said Israeli soldiers fired shots across the border several times over the past week, wounding a farmer and another man.

But the military denied this, saying troops only fired warning shots in the air without causing casualties.

The agreement was supposed to halt all Palestinian attacks and Israeli military operations in and around the besieged Gaza Strip and eventually lead to the easing of the blockade on the densely populated territory.
(Agencies via Alarabiya)

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