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Rocket attacks shake Mideast cease-fire

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NEW: U.N. chief Kofi Annan is "deeply concerned" about militants' rocket attacks
• Two rockets fired into Israel on Monday, according to the IDF
• Palestinians send security forces to enforce agreement after rocket attacks
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JERUSALEM (CNN) -- In violation of a cease-fire agreement between Palestinian factions and Israel, militants in northern Gaza on Monday fired two more rockets into Israel, said Israel Defense Forces.

The IDF on Sunday said militants had fired at least 11 rockets since the start of the cease-fire. Two of those rockets landed in open fields in Israel, but they caused no casualties or damage.

The cease-fire, implemented after months of violence, comes amid new efforts to forge an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered concessions toward that end during a speech Monday. (Full story)

After the rocket attacks Sunday, Palestinian leaders dispatched 13,000 security forces to the Gaza-Israel border to enforce the agreement, according to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' office.

Islamic Jihad and Hamas' military wing, Izzedine al Qassam, claimed responsibility for several of the rocket attacks.

In January, Hamas scored in Palestinian parliamentary elections, toppling the Fatah Party, which had dominated Palestinian politics for decades.

Hamas has refused to recognize Israel's right to exist. It has been designated as a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union, which cut off international aid to the Palestinian government after Hamas took control.

In the wake of Sunday's violations, Olmert said his country would "show restraint" and "give the cease-fire a chance to be fully implemented."

Palestinian factions offered the cease-fire proposal to Israel on Saturday, agreeing to stop firing rockets from northern Gaza into the Jewish state.

In exchange, Israel agreed to withdraw troops from Gaza and cease military operations, including targeted airstrikes on militants.

The Israeli military pulled out of Gaza last year, but troops have at times entered to stop militant attacks.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's office said Monday he "welcomes" the cease-fire agreement for Gaza.

But Annan is "deeply concerned that Palestinian militants continue to fire rockets against civilian targets inside Israel," his spokesman said. "Such attacks underscore the destructive power that militants have to derail the crucial efforts under way to de-escalate tensions."

In the statement, Annan also encouraged both sides to extend the cease-fire to the West Bank.


The Israeli military pulled out of Gaza last year, but troops have at times entered to stop militant attacks.



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