Page last updated at 10:35 GMT, Thursday, 18 December 2008

New rocket fire on south Israel

Missile fragment from overnight raid on Jabaliya, northern Gaza
Air strikes hit Khan Younis, Jabaliya and killed one person in Beit Lahiya

Violence has flared around Gaza a day before a truce is due to end between Israel and the Palestinian militants in control inside the besieged territory.

Militants fired a volley of rockets and mortars at dawn after Israeli air raids killed a Palestinian overnight.

Israel said the attacks in Beit Lahiya, Jabaliya and Khan Younis targeted militant rocket and mortar crews.

On Tuesday, about 20 rockets were fired, injuring at least two people in the Israeli border town of Sderot.

Militant group Islamic Jihad said it carried out Tuesday's attack, in retaliation for the killing of one of its members by Israeli forces in the West Bank on Monday.

A Palestinian medical source quoted by AFP indentified the man killed in the overnight air strike as Falak Okel, 47, a civilian not belonging to any armed group.

He, died and his son and daughter were injured, when an Israeli missile hit their house, the source said. There was no immediate confirmation of this account.

Truce doubts

A six-month ceasefire between Israel and the Hamas movement which runs the Gaza Strip is due to expire on Friday.

Hamas officials have suggested they will not renew the truce because of what they describe as continual Israeli violations.

Israeli authorities have stressed they want the truce to continue and will not rush into a major military operation into the Gaza Strip.

Israel tightened a blockade on Gaza after Hamas took control there in June 2007.

Israel said the siege, under which it has allowed little more than basic humanitarian aid into Gaza, was needed to isolate Hamas and stop it and other militants from firing rockets.

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