Gaza Militants Fire Rocket Into Israel

Tensions high ahead of Obama visit

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Feb 26, 2013 2:49 AM CST

(Newser) – A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip struck Israel today amid mounting tensions weeks ahead of President Obama's visit. A police spokesman said remains of the rocket were found south of the city of Ashkelon, in southern Israel. The attack caused damage to a road but no injuries, he said. It was the first such projectile from the Palestinian territory to hit Israel since Israel-Gaza hostilities last November. The rocket fire came a day after Israeli troops injured two Palestinian teenagers near a holy site close to Bethlehem during one of the many demonstrations Palestinians in the West Bank have staged in recent days.

A statement from President Mahmoud Abbas's office instructed Palestinian security officials last night to preserve order in the West Bank, but placed the blame on Israel for "dragging the area into violence and chaos." A Palestinian spokesman said they were committed to preventing fighting, saying that his forces had recently detained members of Hamas who were planning "violent confrontations." "The only one(s) seeking violence in West Bank is Netanyahu and Hamas, but we will not be dragged to that. Our struggle will always be peaceful."

A man burns tires during a protest to support Palestinian prisoners outside Ofer, an Israeli military prison near the West Bank city of Ramallah.   (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)
An Israeli border policeman aims his rifle at a protest in support of Palestinian prisoners, outside Ofer, an Israeli military prison.   (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)
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