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News number: 8711100775

17:04 | 2009-01-29


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Retaliatory Rocket Lands Deep in Israel

TEHRAN (FNA)- Palestinian fighters in the Gaza Strip fired rockets into Israel after Israeli warplanes pounded the southern parts of the sliver.

One of the rockets fired on Thursday morning hit the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council area, but did not result in any damage or casualty, Israel Radio reported.

Israeli Air Forces bombed the southern parts of the densely populated costal sliver early on Thursday for a second consecutive day.

Israeli warplanes embarked on bombing the Rafah border region on Wednesday, hitting the tunnels under the border with Egypt.

Shortly after the Israel resumed air strikes on the beleaguered strip, a Palestinian Qassam-type rocket fired from Gaza hit the Eshkol region in the western Negev, causing no casualties.

The cross-border tunnels along Rafah have been used by Palestinians to import food, medicines and other vital supplies in the face of a 19-month-long Israeli blockade.

The development comes as indirect talks between Hamas and Israel over a ceasefire continues in Cairo with the mediation of Egypt.

The Palestinian side conditions the truce to reopening of the border-crossings into the blockaded Gaza Strip, while Tel Aviv says it would open the crossings in exchange for the release of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

Hamas says that Shalit would only be released in exchange for the release of a certain number of Palestinian prisoners whose names were given to Ofer Dekel, the former Israeli coordinator of the issue.

Salah el-Bardawil, a member of the Hamas delegation who is currently in Cairo for peace talks has also rejected Israel's demand.

"If they want to release Schalit, they have to pay a price in return... the 11,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails waiting to be released," he said.

The Hamas delegation has offered a year-long truce but demanded "guarantees that Israel shows commitment to lift the siege and completely reopen crossings."

Tel Aviv waged an "all-out war" against the Gaza Strip on December 27 allegedly to stop rocket attacks into southern Israel. The military campaign resulted in the killing of 1,300 Palestinians -- many of whom women and children.

Hamas announced an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip on January 18 after Israel declared a unilateral truce.