Hamas made its first arrests of Palestinian rocket launchers since its truce with Israel went into effect last month.
The radical Islamist group on Thursday arrested three men who fired Kassam rockets from the Gaza Strip into Israel.
Two were members of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, the armed wing of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. They were taken in after being chased into the Jabalya refugee camp following the launch of two rockets.
The rockets landed near a Negev kibbutz, causing no damage.
The shooters said they launched the rockets in response to the Israel Defense Forces’ killing Thursday morning of a Palestinian man attempting to infiltrate Israel.
The United States will “defend our interests and defend our alliesâ€ against an attack by Iran, Condoleezza Rice said after a second day of missile tests.
The U.S. secretary of state’s warning, made during a speech in the former Soviet republic of Georgia, came shortly after Iran test-fired missiles capable of reaching Israel for the second day in a row.
â€œWe take very, very strongly our obligations to defend our allies and no one should be confused of that,â€ she said in a clear reference to Israel.
Thursday’s tests were a continuation of large-scale war games that began Wednesday, when Iran tested a long-range Shehab-3 missile, according to the Iranian news agency Fars.
“This is a challenge not only for Israel but for the entire world,” Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said in an address Thursday evening. “The focus now is sanctions and diplomatic action. Israel is the strongest country in the region, and it has proven in the past that it is not afraid to act when its vital interests are threatened.”
Barak said Israel would take into account “a potential for confrontation” in the responses of enemies such as Hamas and Hezbollah to an attack on Iran. He also expressed hope that peace agreements would be reached with the Palestinians and Syrians despite the threat from Iran.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.