Palestinians dispute Israeli allegation of mortar round fired from Gaza

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Al-Akhbar Management

Published Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A mortar round was allegedly fired from the Gaza Strip into southern Occupied Palestine Tuesday without causing any casualties, the Israeli army claimed.

"For the first time since operation Protective Edge, a mortar shell fired from Gaza hit southern Israel," Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner said on Twitter, referring to the brutal seven-week Israeli military offensive on Gaza this summer.

"No damage or injuries reported," he added.

A spokesman for Hamas, Gaza’s ruling party, told AFP the resistance group and others wanted the three-week old ceasefire to hold.

"The Palestinian factions are committed to the truce," Sami Abu Zuhri said. "We want it to continue."

He questioned whether the attack as reported by Israel had in fact taken place.

"There is no evidence that there was mortar fire from the Gaza Strip," he said.

An Israeli army statement said that the mortar round struck the Eshkol region, which borders the Gaza Strip.

Local media said it hit open ground and air raid sirens were not triggered.

In July, Israel launched the operation on the Gaza Strip. An ensuing 50-day conflict killed at least 2,143 Palestinians, nearly 70 percent of them civilians, and 73 people on the Israeli side, 94 percent of them soldiers.

The sides, working through Egyptian mediators, are supposed to start negotiations in Cairo this month to agree a more formal and long-term version of the existing open-ended truce.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)

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