A militant holds up his weapon as he shows off his skills during a graduation ceremony in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on June 6, 2014
A militant holds up his weapon as he shows off his skills during a graduation ceremony in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on June 6, 2014 © Said Khatib - AFP/File
A militant holds up his weapon as he shows off his skills during a graduation ceremony in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on June 6, 2014
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AFP
Last updated: June 11, 2014

Israel strikes Gaza, blames Abbas for rocket fire

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An Israeli air strike killed a Palestinian in Gaza on Wednesday after new rocket fire from the territory prompted Israel's premier to warn he holds Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas responsible.

Two Palestinians were also wounded in the evening raid in the northern Gaza Strip, the emergency services said.

The dead man and one of the wounded were travelling on a motorbike and were the apparent targets. A young boy, who was passing by on foot. was also wounded.

The Israeli military said it had targeted "terrorists affiliated to the international jihad," its designation for Al-Qaeda inspired groups in Gaza.

Abbas, who swore in a new merged government for the Palestinian territories last week replacing the Hamas administration in Gaza, condemned the rocket fire, which Israeli officials said hit the Eshkol region without causing any casualties or damage.

Israel had previously held Hamas responsible for all rocket fire from Gaza, regardless of who carried it out.

Now, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu holds Abbas, who heads the unity government, responsible, a spokesman said.

"Abbas is responsible and accountable for rockets that are fired at Israeli towns and cities by terrorists in the Gaza Strip," Ofir Gendelman wrote on Twitter.

Another Netanyahu spokesman released a statement demanding that Abbas disarm "terrorist" organisations in Gaza.

"Abbas claims that the new Palestinian government honours all previous commitments. So why has he not disarmed the terrorist organisations in Gaza as he is obligated to do," Mark Regev asked.

Reacting to the rocket fire, Abbas's office said he "condemns the rocket fire and calls for honouring past agreements."

The new government of independent technocrats agreed on between Abbas's Fatah party and Hamas, has said it will respect Israel and past peace agreements, and has given assurances that it renounces violence.

Hamas refuses to recognise Israel and is pledged to armed struggle against the Jewish state.

Some 140 rockets and mortar rounds fired from Gaza have hit southern Israel so far this year, the military says.

On June 1, two rockets from Gaza hit Israel, prompting retaliatory air strikes.

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