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Israel commits to shaky Gaza cease-fire

Dec. 27, 2006 at 6:59 AM

JERUSALEM, Dec. 27 (UPI) -- Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Wednesday that Israel will extend a cease-fire in Gaza but would respond militarily to Palestinian rocket attacks.

Olmert met with Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz and senior defense officials, and afterward issued a statement authorizing Israeli troops to take "pinpoint action" against rocket launching sites in Gaza, The Jerusalem Post reported.

"At the same time, Israel will continue to abide by the cease-fire," the statement said.

Hamas government spokeswoman Ghazi Hamad denounced the military response authorization but said, "We still believe that this agreement is alive."

Not long after Olmert's statement, a Palestinian rocket was fired from Gaza toward the Israeli town of Sderot, but no injuries were reported.

Abu Hamza, a spokesman for Islamic Jihad, said the rocket fire was a response to Israeli arrests of operatives in the West Bank, which is not covered by the truce.

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