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Rocket fire from Gaza hits southern Israel, police say

A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip landed early Tuesday near Ashkelon in southern Israel, police said, in the first such strike since a November truce.

JERUSALEM // A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip landed early Tuesday near Ashkelon in southern Israel, police said, in the first such strike since a November truce.

"The rocket fell early in the morning near Ashkelon and did some damage to a road, without hurting anyone," said police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.

It was the first such attack since the end of an Israeli operation late November, during which more than a thousand rockets were fired into Israeli territory from the Gaza Strip, which is controlled by the Islamist group Hamas.

The two sides finally agreed a truce on November 21 following the eight-day Israeli military operation inside Gaza.

The violence killed 177 Palestinians, about a hundred of them civilians, as well as six Israelis, four of whom were civilians, according to figures issued by the two sides.

Tuesday's rocket fire comes at a time when tensions are particularly high following the weekend death of a Palestinian prisoner in an Israeli jail, who the Palestinians say had been tortured.

Thousands of Palestinians thronged the West Bank village of Sair on Monday for the funeral of Arafat Jaradat, a 30-year-old father of two and member of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.

Both the Palestinians and the United Nations special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, Robert Serry, have called for an independent inquiry into his death.

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