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Israel shuts Gaza crossings after militants violate truce

Chicago Tribune

Islamic Jihad militants in the Gaza Strip fired three rockets into Israel on Tuesday, breaching a 5-day-old cease-fire after Israeli troops killed one of the Palestinian group’s commanders in the West Bank.

Israel responded to the rocket fire by shutting border crossings into Gaza.

Although the truce does not include the West Bank, Islamic Jihad has said it reserves the right to respond to Israeli military actions there.

“We cannot keep our hands tied when this is happening to our brothers in the West Bank,” the group said in a statement Tuesday.

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The incident underscored the fragility of the Gaza truce between Israel and Hamas and demonstrated how continuing Israeli raids against militants in the West Bank have the potential to undermine the pact.

Similar West Bank operations and Palestinian rocket attacks from Gaza led to the breakdown of previous truces.

Israeli troops killed an Islamic Jihad leader and another Palestinian reported to be a Hamas member in the West Bank city of Nablus in a predawn raid. The army said troops on an arrest mission killed two militants in an exchange of fire.

Hours later, Islamic Jihad fired three rockets from the Gaza Strip that struck the southern Israeli border town of Sderot, damaging a house and sending three people into shock, the army said.

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The militant group Hamas accused Israel of provoking the rocket fire but said it would talk to Islamic Jihad to ensure quiet.


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