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Rockets strike Israel, jeopardizing truce talk

By The Associated Press

This article was published March 13, 2014 at 3:55 p.m.

JERUSALEM — The Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad said Thursday it had agreed to halt a wave of rocket fire on Israel, signaling an end to the heaviest fighting between the sides since 2012, though soon after the announcement seven rockets fired from Gaza exploded inside Israel.

The Islamic Jihad denied it launched the attack and it wasn't immediately unclear who fired the rockets. Cease-fire declarations have not always been honored by militants and the barrage raised doubts about the cease-fire offer made by Islamic Jihad.

The Israeli military said militants fired at least seven rockets Thursday from Gaza, with most coming in the evening after the cease-fire claim. It said its "Iron Dome" defense system intercepted one rocket.

Israeli officials previously refused to confirm any cease-fire deal was in place.

In two days of violence, militants fired some 70 rockets into Israel, while Israel has carried out a series of airstrikes in Gaza. No serious casualties have been reported.

Islamic Jihad leader Khaled al-Batch announced Thursday that his group had accepted an Egyptian-brokered plan to stop its attacks, if Israel agreed to a truce as well.

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