Rocket fired from Gaza Strip into Israel: Hamas blames 'unknown' militants for launch

Nobody was injured in the incident, according to authorities

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The Independent Online

A rocket has been fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel near the city of Ashdod – the longest-range strike since the truce that ended last year's 50 day war.

Nobody has so far claimed responsibility for the rocket, although a Hamas official has said unknown militants in the Gaza Strip were responsible.

Nobody was injured in the incident and no damage has been recorded, police and the military have said.

Security forces have been searching for remnants of the rocket after it landed near Ashdod some 20km north of the Gaza border.

Thousands of rockets and mortar shells were launched by Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip during the war with Israel last July and August, while Israeli air strikes and shelling bombarded the Palestinian enclave.

There has been little activity however in the region since the ceasefire was called in August.

Israeli media has speculated that the latest rocket attack was precipitated by in-fighting among Islamic militants and was carried out without the permission of Hamas, the Gaza's Islamist rulers.

Earlier reports in Israeli media also suggested five rockets had been fired.

There is anger among rival factions in Gaza that no progress has been made to improve the region's plight months after the end of the war, while pledges for funding to help rebuild those buildings damaged in the war have not yet come through, Reuters has reported.

Last month it was reported that Prime Minister David Cameron said Israel was right to defend itself in the face of "indiscriminate" attacks in Gaza last summer.

Mr Cameron said it was "important to speak out" about standing by Israel and said there was an "important difference" between the use of weapons by Israel to defend itself and Hamas' use of them "to defend its weapons".

The PM came under criticism from Ed Miliband last summer over his slow response in condemning Israeli strikes on civilian targets in Gaza.

Additional reporting by Reuters and AP

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