JERUSALEM – A Palestinian mortar shell on Tuesday struck a greenhouse in a Gaza Strip (search) settlement, killing a Palestinian and an Asian worker, the Israeli army said, hours after Israeli soldiers killed a top militant in a gunbattle in the West Bank (search).
The attack on the Ganei Tal settlement also wounded five other non-Israeli workers, the army said, amid a barrage of Palestinian attacks on southern Israel that further undermined a fragile truce.
Hamas claimed responsibility for firing six mortar shells at the settlements in southern Gaza on Tuesday afternoon, although it was unclear if those included the attack on Ganei Tal.
The militant group said the attacks were in retaliation for a scuffle at a Jerusalem holy site on Monday and the separate killings of the Islamic Jihad militant and a person who jumped the border fence between Egypt and Gaza on Tuesday.
The army said none of the other mortar shells caused any injuries.
"The Zionist enemy shoulders the full responsibility for its escalation and the Palestinian resistance has the right to retaliate against these aggressions," Hamas spokesman Mushir Al Masri said.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad (search) both said they had no intention of pulling out of the Feb. 8 truce.
Morwah Kamil (search), 25, head of the Islamic Jihad military wing in Jenin, was killed in a lengthy gunbattle that erupted when Israeli troops entered the town of Qabatiya, near Jenin, in an arrest raid, witnesses said. The Israeli army confirmed Kamil was the object of the raid.
Another gunman was killed, and five Palestinians were wounded, witnesses said. The Israeli army said one soldier was slightly injured in the confrontation, in which Palestinian gunmen in several locations traded fire with soldiers.
Israeli troops also shot and killed a man who climbed over the fence at the Egypt-Gaza border and entered southern Gaza. Israeli military officials said they believed the man was an Egyptian involved in weapons smuggling. No weapons were found on his body, the officials said.
Several hours later, militants in northern Gaza fired at least three homemade rockets at the southern Israeli town of Sderot, hitting a house, but causing no injuries.
The violence followed a confrontation that broke out Monday when Jews visited the Jerusalem holy site that was home to the biblical Jewish Temples and now houses the Al Aqsa Mosque (search), Islam's third-holiest shrine. Muslim worshippers threw stones at the Jewish visitors and Israeli police responded with stun grenades.
"Any attempt to defile or to harm Al Aqsa Mosque means an open turf war in every corner of our homeland, Palestine," Hamas said earlier in a statement.
Militants have fired dozens of rockets and mortar shells at Israeli targets in recent weeks, despite a truce agreement between the two sides. For their part, the Palestinians have criticized Israel for continuing to pursue wanted men, saying it violates the truce. Despite sporadic flare-ups of violence, neither side has rejected the truce.
Since the cease-fire, Israel has been more open to coordinating its planned withdrawal from Gaza this summer with the Palestinians, though progress has been halting. Both sides are afraid that violence against settlers and the Israeli military could escalate during the pullout if there is no cooperation.
On Monday, Israeli negotiators turned over information about the 21 Gaza settlements slated for evacuation.
Palestinian Civil Affairs Minister Mohammed Dahlan (search) said the Israelis failed to present vital data. "The real information on assets, number of houses, location of water pipes and that sort of thing, we did not get," he told The Associated Press. Other officials complained the maps were outdated.
An adviser to Vice Premier Shimon Peres, Yoram Dori, said Tuesday that the Palestinians were given information and maps on electricity, water and sewage. The Palestinians wanted additional information that Israel will not turn over because it would endanger settlers and security forces, Dori said.
Israel Radio reported that the Palestinians wanted more detailed maps and aerial photographs of settlements and military facilities.
A Palestinian security official said the Palestinians are recruiting 5,600 police officers to ensure calm in Gaza during the pullout, scheduled for mid-August. Interior Ministry spokesman Tawfiq Abu Khoussa said the officers would be responsible for preventing attacks on settlers and soldiers and stopping looting.
Also Tuesday, Israeli officials said they had presented Palestinians with proposals to run a train connecting Gaza to the West Bank after the pullout. Such a link was agreed to in the Oslo peace accords signed more than a decade ago but was never built.