9 Feb 2009

Israel says rocket fired from Gaza Strip

5:20 am on 9 February 2009

The Israeli military says a rocket fired from the Hamas run Gaza Strip landed in southern Israel on Sunday, causing no casualties.

A fragile ceasefire has been in place since Israel ended a 22 day military offensive in Gaza on January 18 that was designed to punish Hamas for cross-border attacks from the territory.

Israel has responded with air strikes to rocket and mortar bomb attacks since the truce went into effect.

The Israeli military said the rocket was fired from the northern Gaza Strip. It landed in an agricultural community near the southern town of Sderot, setting one car on fire and damaging two others.

Egypt is trying to secure a lasting ceasefire within days between Israel and Hamas.

Diplomats said the Egyptian proposal includes a prisoner exchange and the initial opening of at least two of the enclave's border crossings.

Israel wants any truce deal to include the release of a soldier held captive in Gaza since 2006.

Hamas wants the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in return for soldier Gilad Shalit.

Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak played down reports in the Arab media that significant progress had been made in talks to free Shalit.