1st Gaza rocket in 3 months rattles cease-fire
By Daniel Estrin, APJERUSALEM--Gaza militants on Tuesday fired a rocket into Israel for the first time in three months, rattling a cross-border truce that has held since Israel's last major military offensive against the Hamas-run territory.
February 27, 2013, 12:08 am TWN
Militants claiming affiliation with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement took responsibility for the attack, saying they fired the rocket to avenge the death of a Palestinian in Israeli custody.
The detainee, Arafat Jaradat, 30, died over the weekend after interrogation by Israel's Shin Bet security services. Palestinian officials, citing an autopsy, said the detainee was tortured, while Israel says more tests are needed to determine the cause of death.
Jaradat's death sparked protests in the West Bank, including near the town of Bethlehem on Monday.
Two Palestinian teens, ages 13 and 16, were wounded in a confrontation with Israeli soldiers. The older boy was transferred to Jerusalem's Hadassah Hospital after being shot in the head and was in critical condition Tuesday, breathing through a respirator, officials said.
The rocket from Gaza landed south of the Israeli city of Ashkelon early Tuesday, said police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld. The rocket caused damage to a road, but no injuries, he said.
In an email sent to reporters, militants claiming affiliation with Fatah's violent offshoot, the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, said they fired the rocket to avenge Jaradat, the detainee who died in Israeli custody. It was impossible to verify the claim. The Fatah-allied militant group has kept a low profile since the Hamas takeover.
Hamas government spokesman Ehab Ghussein denied a rocket was fired, indicating the Islamic militant group was trying to distance itself from the incident. In the past, militant splinter groups have fired rockets at times when Hamas tried to discourage such attacks.