Ismail Haniyeh - AP - Sept. 28, 2010
Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh Photo by AP
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The Gaza Strip's ruling Hamas movement has ordered its security commanders to enforce a cease-fire with Israel and has beefed up its forces near the border to help maintain the calm.

Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh issued the order Thursday following a surge in violence between Palestinian militants and the Israeli military in recent weeks.

Hamas has largely respected an informal cease-fire since a three-week Israeli military offensive in the winter 2008-09. But smaller militant groups have carried out sporadic attacks.

Fearing Israeli reprisals, Hamas has been urging these groups in recent days to restore the calm. Officials say the deployment is to prevent further rocket fire at Israel.

Israel says it holds Hamas responsible for all attacks emanating from Gaza.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said militants in Gaza would be making "a terrible, terrible mistake" if they continued to "test our will to defend our people".

An Israeli air strike on Tuesday killed an Islamic Jihad militant in Gaza.