Olmert not expecting truce to last
A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip landed in southern Israel on Tuesday just hours after Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert visited the area and cautioned residents not to expect a lull in Palestinian attacks to last. According to Reuters, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine claimed responsibility for the rocket strike, the first against Israel since Sunday, saying its "battle against occupation is continuing".
A police spokesman said the rocket fell in open ground south of the major Israeli city of Ashkelon, causing no injuries.
A few hours earlier, Olmert visited Ashkelon and told residents there were no guarantees Katyusha salvoes from the Hamas-run Gaza Strip would not resume. "Don't think it was a one-time experience," Olmert said about last week's Katyusha attacks.
On Monday Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said in Amman that Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the main groups in the Gaza Strip behind cross-border rocket fire at Israel, wanted assurances that in return for agreeing to a truce, their leaders would not be attacked. However, Hamas denied its pursuit of an Egyptian-mediated ceasefire was motivated by a desire to protect its leaders from Israeli assassination.
"Hamas leaders seek martyrdom and would never bargain over the blood of their people like others do," Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri said in a statement.