JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired at least three makeshift rockets at an Israeli border town on Tuesday, damaging an apartment building but causing no serious casualties, the Israeli army said.
Hamas, an Islamic militant group sworn to the Jewish state”s destruction, claimed responsibility for the salvo on Sderot, calling it a response to a confrontation between Israeli police and Palestinians at a Muslim shrine in Jerusalem on Monday.
"Any harm that befalls al-Aqsa mosque will mean an open, fierce war in all of our land of Palestine, and by all means," the Hamas military wing said in a statement.
Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups have largely abided by a truce declared by President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in February.
An army spokeswoman said two Sderot residents were treated for shock after a rocket hit their building.
Past cross-border rocket strikes that caused bloodshed often prompted Israeli military sweeps of occupied Gaza, which Israel plans to quit in mid-August under a plan by Sharon to "disengage" from 4 1/2 years of conflict with the Palestinians.
Israeli officials have vowed not to withdraw soldiers and settlers under fire.
On Monday, Israeli police faced off against Palestinians throwing rocks at Jews who visited the al-Aqsa mosque compound during Israel”s annual celebration of its capture of Arab East Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war.
Two Jews were slightly injured and one Palestinian was arrested, police said. Jews revere the al-Aqsa compound as the site of two ancient temples.