By Batsheva Sobelman, Los Angeles Times
JERUSALEM — A mortar round fired from the Gaza Strip struck southern Israel on Tuesday, the first such shelling since a truce took effect last month, ending seven weeks of fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which caused no injuries or damage, according to a statement from Israeli military. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told news media that the group remained committed to the cease-fire.
“We will not accept sporadic fire on our communities,” said Haim Yellin, head of the region council in Eshkol, where the shell landed. Yellin urged Israel’s government to secure a long-term calm for its citizens.
Israel’s 50-day military assault on Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza came to a halt Aug. 26 when both sides accepted an Egyptian proposal to hold their fire and agreed to begin negotiations for a more lasting cease-fire within a month. These have not yet begun.
Earlier Tuesday, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon told reporters there were “no signs fire from the strip will resume at the end of the month, with or without the renewal of the cease-fire talks in Cairo.”
In the meanwhile, the minister said, Israel was “working to stabilize reality on the ground” by relieving restrictions on Gaza, including expanding the coastal enclave’s fishing zone and increasing the number of cargo trucks allowed into Gaza.
Yaalon said construction material would be allowed into Gaza within a month, once a special supervision mechanism was in place to ensure it goes to civilian rebuilding efforts only and not to restoring Hamas’ military infrastructure.
Sobelman is a Los Angeles Times special correspondent.
AFP Photo/David Buimovitch
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