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New rocket attack in Israeli town

  • Story Highlights
  • Rocket fired from Gaza injures Israeli woman, damages house, in town of Sderot
  • Attack comes a day after mayor of Sderot resigned, citing constant bombardment
  • Mayor later took back his resignation, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports
  • Israel complains at peace talks in Jerusalem about rocket attacks
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JERUSALEM (CNN) -- A rocket fired by Palestinian militants in Gaza on Thursday struck near a synagogue in the Israeli town of Sderot, injuring a woman and damaging a home, an Israel Defense Forces spokeswoman said.

The rocket was one of at least five that hit the area Thursday, the spokeswoman said.

It came a day after Sderot's mayor, Eli Moyal, resigned, saying he could no longer function under the constant bombardment of rockets.

He said he hoped his resignation would move Israel's government to take stronger military action to defend residents of Sderot.

The Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz reported that Moyal had changed his mind and rescinded his resignation after meeting with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Thursday night.

The town near the Gaza border is the main target of rocket attacks, which the Israeli military estimates happen every three hours, on average.

Speaking hours after more than a dozen rockets slammed into the region Wednesday, IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi warned that a stronger military operation in Gaza was increasingly likely, according to Haaretz.

He said an ongoing limited operation has resulted in "a reduction in the ground threat and the firing of rockets, but does not stop it," Haaretz reported.

"We will come to the point where we will have to carry out the big operation."

The situation threatens to overshadow the developing Israeli-Palestinian peace process, which was restarted two weeks ago at a U.S. summit, followed up by Wednesday's talks in Jerusalem by foreign ministers.

At Wednesday's session, Israelis complained about rocket attacks from Gaza while Palestinians questioned Israeli plans for West Bank settlements.

The discussions in Jerusalem, led by Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and her Palestinian counterpart, Ahmed Qurei, came hours after rockets pounded southern Israel.

Israeli lawmaker Yuval Steinitz of the right-wing Likud party questioned whether the talks should have even taken place as rockets fell.

He cited a recent comment from former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, now the Mideast Quartet's envoy. "[Blair] said two weeks ago that if he [were] an Israeli, he would not negotiate when rockets are falling on Sderot on a daily basis," Steinitz said.

"I think this is common sense, and if Tony Blair could understand it, I wonder why Tzipi Livni and [Israeli Prime Minister] Ehud Olmert failed to understand." E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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