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Page last updated at 21:11 GMT, Tuesday, 19 May 2009 22:11 UK

Israel: 'No need to finish' W Bank barrier

The barrier Israel built through the West Bank
Israel began building the barrier several years ago

The head of Israel's security service has said there is no security reason for continuing construction of Israel's barrier through the West Bank.

Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin told a parliamentary committee that Israel had enough capabilities to prevent attacks from the Palestinian territory.

Since building began years ago, Israel has maintained that it is a security measure to keep out attackers.

Palestinians reject this, seeing it as a land grab.

The UN has criticised Israel, citing an advisory opinion by the International Court of Justice that parts of the barrier built inside Palestinian territory in the West Bank - 90% of the route - are contrary to international law.

Gaza attacks

Meanwhile, Israeli police say a rocket fired by Palestinian militants in Gaza has landed in the town of Sderot, causing damage but no casualties.

Several people were treated for shock after the rocket struck the backyard of a house.

It was one of very few rockets launched from Gaza in recent weeks.

Israeli security officials have said the Hamas movement, which controls Gaza, is trying to maintain a truce so it can re-arm following Israel's offensive earlier this year.

Later, Israeli forces were reported to have bombed an area on the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, hours after the Sderot attack.

It was apparently targeted at tunnels which Israel says are used to smuggle weapons into Gaza.



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