Israel launches airstrike after unilateral Gaza truce (Second Lead)

January 18th, 2009 - 4:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Jerusalem, Jan 18 (Xinhua) The Israeli military Sunday said it launched an airstrike to hit back at Gaza militants’ rocket attacks earlier Sunday after the Jewish state announced a unilateral truce late Saturday night. A spokesman from the military said that Israeli aircraft hit the launchers in the Gaza Strip that had fired rockets into Israel.

The retaliation came after southern Israel was pounded by a number of rockets fired from the Gaza Strip in the morning, hours after an Israeli unilateral ceasefire came into effect.

At least five rockets landed in the southern Israeli town of Sderot and the nearby area, causing no casualties or damage, local news service Ynet reported.

Palestinian militants Sunday claimed responsibility for fresh attacks on Israel after the Jewish state’s unilateral ceasefire.

The attacks include six rockets fired into Israel, and gunbattles in eastern Gaza City and northern Gaza Strip Sunday morning.

Rockets hit Israel only some seven hours after Israel’s unilateral ceasefire took into effect.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert Saturday evening announced a unilateral ceasefire in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, beginning from 2 a.m. (0000 GMT) Sunday.

The announcement came shortly after the Israeli security cabinet voted in favour of a unilateral ceasefire in Gaza, where Israel Defense Forces’ (IDF) Cast Lead Operation had been going on over the past three weeks.

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