Page last updated at 23:02 GMT, Saturday, 21 November 2009

Hamas and Gaza militants 'to end Israel rocket attacks'

Militants in the Gaza Strip (13 Oct 2009)
Rockets fired from Gaza usually cause limited damage in Israel

Hamas says it has agreed with other Palestinian militant groups in Gaza to stop firing rockets into Israel.

Fathi Hammad, who acts as Hamas interior minister, said the ceasefire aimed to prevent retaliatory attacks by Israel and build stability.

But he said rockets would continue to be fired from the Gaza Strip in the event of any Israeli incursions.

Hamas has observed a ceasefire for months, but other groups have carried out sporadic cross-border attacks.

The rockets usually cause limited damage and few if any casualties.

Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli military offensive in Gaza last December and January, was intended to put a stop to the attacks, some of which have reached up to 46km (28 miles) into Israel.

About 1,300 Palestinians and 10 Israeli soldiers were killed in the three weeks of fighting. Three Israeli citizens also died in rocket attacks during the operation.

Mr Hammad said ending the firing of rockets would bring greater stability to the lives of people in Gaza, enabling them to continue repairing the damage caused by the conflict.

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