Palestinian rocket fire at Israel is testing
a shaky ceasefire in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.
in Gaza fired a rocket at Israel that landed near the coastal city of Ashkelon.
There were no injuries or damage, but the attack raised the prospect of further
Israeli retaliation. Israel has vowed to respond harshly to any Palestinian
rocket fire and there have been a series of tit-for-tat attacks since a
ceasefire ended the Gaza war two weeks ago.
Israeli analyst Dan Schueftan
says Israel needs to strengthen its new policy of deterrence.
they shoot a rocket, we should react without any proportion in a way that will
not only hurt them but also humiliate them," he said.
Egypt is trying to
mediate a long term ceasefire between Israel and the Islamic militant group
Hamas which rules Gaza. But Hamas says it will not stop the rocket fire and
other attacks unless Israel opens border crossings into Gaza and lifts its
crippling blockade. Israel says that cannot happen until Hamas releases a
captive Israeli soldier held for two and a half years in Gaza.
soldier, Gilad Shalit, is a powerful bargaining chip for Hamas. Senior Hamas
official Khalil al-Hayya told a rally in Gaza that Israel must pay a high price.
He said "Shalit will not see the light of day" until Israel releases
hundreds of Palestinian prisoners. Israel says the problem is not with the
numbers but the names. Hamas is demanding some top militants involved in
bombings with mass casualties, and Israel says they will not be released.