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Violence Persists as Israel, Palestinians Report Near Truce

By VOA News
13 February 2009

Israelis and Palestinians fought again Friday, raising tension as the two sides try to forge a long-term ceasefire for the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli military says its air force bombed a target near the Gaza town of Khan Younis, killing one militant and injuring at least one other. The raid followed Palestinian rocket attacks on southern Israel from the Gaza Strip, which caused no damage or injuries.

In the West Bank, a 14-year-old Palestinian was killed during what the Israeli military said was a clash between Israeli forces and a group of Palestinians throwing stones at a military guard post in Hebron.

The Palestinian militant group Hamas has said it expects a long-term truce with Israel to be announced in the next two days, following negotiations with Egyptian mediators.

In another development, two Palestinian ministers presented their case to the International Criminal Court to open a war crimes investigation of Israel's recent offensive in Gaza.

Justice Minister Ali Kashan and Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki say they presented documents to the chief prosecutor showing they have the legal standing, as officials of a Palestinian state, to request an investigation.

The prosecutor must decide whether the court has the jurisdiction to hear the case before he can determine whether war crimes were committed in Gaza.

Israel does not recognize the court's authority.

Both Israel and Hamas called separate ceasefires on January 18, after Israel's three-week offensive on Gaza, which killed more than 1,300 Palestinians. Thirteen Israelis also were killed in the conflict.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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