IAF Bombs Gaza Target After 8 Mortar Shells Fired at Israel

IDF troops in Gaza come under fire, in first truce violation; no soldiers hurt in incident close to Kissufim.

The Israel Air Force on Tuesday evening bombed a target in the Gaza Strip used earlier in the day Palestinian militants to fire eight mortar shells at Israel.

Militants on Tuesday also opened fire at Israel Defense Forces soldiers in Gaza in two separate incidents, in the first violation of a shaky cease-fire in the coastal strip that ended Israel's 3-week offensive against Hamas.

No IDF soldiers were wounded in the incidents, one of which took place near the Kissufim border crossing, and the other in the center of the Strip. In one of the incidents the troops returned fire.

Also Tuesday, Gaza militants in the Gaza Strip fired a mortar shell toward Israel, the IDF said. But police reported that it looked like the projectile never reached Israel.

Earlier in the day, Israeli security forces backtracked on an earlier report of a firing. The military said a warning siren that went off was a false alarm.

On Monday, IDF officers supervising the pullout of troops from Gaza were working to have the last soldier leave Gaza on Tuesday before the inauguration of United States President Barack Obama at around 6 P.M. Israel time.

The IDF was expected Tuesday to begin discharging many of the reservists drafted two weeks ago under emergency call-up orders.

Troops began significantly reducing their presence in the Gaza Strip as early as Saturday night, immediately after Israel declared the unilateral cease-fire which put an end to Operation Cast Lead. The troops took key positions around the Strip, poised to reenter if and when ordered.

IDF sources said that the peace was maintained despite alleged orders by Hamas leadership in Damascus for their operatives in Gaza to carry out attacks against IDF forces. Israeli officers said that the militants had chosen to ignore the order.

Hamas militants on Monday took steps to avoid violating the cease-fire, not firing any rockets into Israel and not attacking the IDF troops still stationed in the Strip.