GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – An Israeli airstrike against a Palestinian rocket squad killed a militant Saturday, the first death in Gaza since Hamas formally declared an end to a six-month truce.
Palestinians fired 10 rockets and at least 23 mortar shells from Gaza into Israel, causing some property damage but no casualties, the Israeli military said. An Israeli airstrike at one of the rocket squads in northern Gaza killed a militant, said the army and Palestinian medics.
The Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, the armed wing of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement, identified the dead man as one of its fighters. Hamas, which controls Gaza, said it was behind the mortar fire.
A six-month truce that expired Friday had curbed violence between Israel and Hamas in Gaza though sporadic fighting has continued. Hamas declared Friday that it would not continue the truce.
Also Saturday, a boat carrying a Qatari delegation, Lebanese activists and journalists from Israel and Lebanon sailed into Gaza City’s small port in defiance of a border blockade. It was the fifth such boat trip since the summer and the first official Arab delegation to reach Gaza.
Israel and Egypt closed Gaza’s borders after Hamas seized control of the territory in June 2007. Since November, Israel has tightened the blockade to pressure Gaza militants to halt their rocket fire on Israeli border towns.