Israeli aircraft attack Gaza rocket launchers, Olmert says truce fragile
The Israeli military carried out an air strike against a rocket launching squad in the northern Gaza Strip on Sunday in the first such incident following a unilateral truce, the army said. (UPDATED)
"We hit the launcher that had fired rockets into Israel," the spokesman told Reuters, after a barrage of six rockets caused damage but no casualties.
Earlier Gaza militants fired a handful of rockets into Israel, with at least four of them landing inside the Jewish state without causing any injuries, the army said.
Israel halted its 22-day-old Gaza offensive at 2 a.m. (0000 GMT), saying it had achieved all its objectives but that a troop withdrawal was contingent on Hamas ceasing its fire completely.
Hamas has said it would not accept the presence of Israeli soldiers in the Gaza Strip and would "continue to resist them". Israeli leaders have said the military would respond strongly if Hamas kept up attacks.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said on Sunday Israel’s unilateral ceasefire in the Gaza Strip was fragile and was being reassessed on minute by minute basis.
"The government’s decision allows Israel to respond and renew the fire if our enemy in the Gaza Strip continues its strikes," he was quoted by AFP as saying after Gaza militants fired a handful of rockets into Israel.
"This morning they again proved that the ceasefire is fragile and it has to be reassessed on a minute by minute basis," Olmert said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem.
"We hope that the fire ends. If it continues, the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) will respond. It is prepared and deployed to do so."
Israel launched air strikes on the Gaza Strip on Dec. 27 and ground troops pushed into the enclave a week later, saying its main aim was an end to the rocket fire that had killed 18 people in Israel over the previous eight years.
Israeli attacks killed more than 1,200 Palestinians, about half of them civilians, during the offensive, Gaza medical officials said. Israel said hundreds of gunmen were among the dead. Ten Israeli soldiers and three civilians hit by rockets were killed.