Israel's army radio reported that Omar Suleiman, the Egyptian intelligence chief, was due in Israel next week to try to advance truce efforts.Rocket attacks
The Islamic Jihad group fired more than one dozen rockets from the Gaza Strip early on Thursday but they caused little damage and no injuries.
"The Israeli air force raid targeted a rocket launch that was ready to fire in the Beit Hanoun area in the northern Gaza Strip," an Israeli army spokesman said.
"Two of the rockets exploded at Sderot, damaging a building, but without injuring anybody."
Palestinian hospital officials said no one was hurt in the Beit Hanoun air raid.
Thursday's violence was preceded by the slayings of five Palestinian fighters in the West Bank.
Palestinian security officials said Wednesday's dead included Mohammed Shahada, 48, a senior leader in the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad, and Ahmed al-Balbul, 48, a senior official in al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, an armed group loosely tied to Fatah.
Two others were identified as Imad al-Kamel and Eissa Marzuk, both from the Islamic Jihad.
Shahada and the others were buried in Bethlehem on Thursday. Their bodies were wrapped in Hezbollah flags, and dozens of mourners chanted support for the Lebanese Shia group.
They were killed by undercover Israeli units in the middle of Bethlehem just after they had finished dinner in one of the city's restaurants.
|Four Islamic Jihad killed in Bethlehem were|
buried on Thursday [AFP]
"Yesterday in Bethlehem we demonstrated once again that the state of Israel will continue to pursue and strike all murderers with Jewish blood on their hands," Ehud Barak, Israel's defence minister, said on Thursday.
Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president who suspended talks with Israel after clashes in recent weeks led to the deaths of more than 120 Palestinians, condemned Israel's "ugly crime" in Bethlehem.
"The Palestinian Authority holds the government of Israel responsible for all the consequences resulting from these brutal crimes against our people," he said in a statement.
In Gaza, about 3,000 Palestinians marched to protest aganst the Israeli raid in Bethlehem, and Hamas blamed Israel for the renewed violence.
Abu Obeid, a Hamas spokesman, threatened retaliation against "all of the Zionist colonies and towns around Gaza".