Truce violation 'an exception'

 

Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president and leader of Fatah, said that the violation of the ceasefire by Hamas was an exception and called on Israel to show restraint.

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"The violation of the truce is an exceptional event that will not last," he said at a news conference in Rome.

"I take this opportunity to appeal to Israel to show the necessary self-control so that this will not happen again."

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will meet with his senior security advisers on Wednesday to consider their options, Israel Radio reported.

The attacks, which came as Israel observed its 59th anniversary, caused no damage or injuries.

 

Bloody weekend

 

They marked the first time that Hamas, the senior partner in the Palestinian coalition cabinet, claimed responsibility for launching rockets into Israel since a November 26 ceasefire took effect between the army and Palestinian fighters.

 

Abu Obaida said the firing of Tuesday's projectiles was a response to the death of nine Palestinians, two teenagers and five fighters among them, by Israeli troops over the weekend in the occupied West Bank and Gaza.

  

The deaths marked the bloodiest weekend of Israeli-Palestinian violence since the November truce and sparked calls for retaliation on the part of Palestinian armed groups.

 

Under the terms of the November ceasefire, the Israeli army withdrew troops from the Gaza Strip and Palestinian fighters there were supposed to halt rocket fire.

  

Until Tuesday, the truce has largely held despite violations by both sides.