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Gaza Militants Fire Rockets at Israel Despite Truce
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Two Qassam rockets fired from northern Gaza Monday afternoon landed in open areas in the western Negev region, breaching for the second time a cease-fire agreement in the Gaza Strip since it went into effect on Sunday, local newspaper Ha'aretz reported.

This is the second violence of the day-old truce, and there are so far no reports of injuries or damage. Hours after the ceasefire went into effect at 6 AM Sunday, several rocket barrages hit southern Israel.

According to the Ha'aretz report, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, an armed offshoot of Palestinian National Authority (PNA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement, claimed responsibility for the rocket attacks.

Before the attacks, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Monday made an appeal to the Palestinians, urging them to choose a path of negotiations with Israel.

Speaking at an annual memorial service for Israel's first premier David Ben-Gurion at Sde Boker in the Negev, Olmert said Israel would be ready to evacuate occupied lands and settlements in return for "real peace."

However, earlier in the day, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) troops in West Bank shot dead two Palestinians, one of them is member of a militant group with ties to Gaza's Popular Resistance Committees, raising concerns that there could be a violent response from the Strip.

Some militant factions have warned that they would respond with attacks to all casualties caused by the IDF in the West Bank, and that the truce would collapse unless Israel also halts military operations in the whole of the territories including the West Bank.

After Sunday's rocket attack, Olmert had said that Israel would display "patience and restraint."

(Xinhua News Agency November 28, 2006)

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