Islamic Jihad may halt rocket attacks on Israel

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The Independent Online

A spokesman for Islamic Jihad in Gaza has said that the militant group has agreed to stop firing rockets against Israel amid fears of a brewing conflict in the enclave.

In an interview with Islamic Jihad radio, Daoud Shihab said the group "stopped the rocket fire into Israel for internal Palestinian purposes – first and foremost to help end the siege on the Gaza Strip." Mr Shihab is a senior figure within Islamic Jihad. But suggesting a possible division within the group, Islamic Jihad's offer of a ceasefire was later denied by Nafez Azzam, one of the group's leaders, on its website.

Ismail Radwan, a Hamas official, said yesterday that Islamist groups had agreed to co-ordinate their resistance efforts, but he refused to be drawn on whether they had agreed a ceasefire. Tensions are high in Gaza after Israel mounted missile attacks last week and an official threatened a second offensive if rocket attacks do not cease.