Israel has shown "great restraint" in responding to repeated Palestinian rocket attacks against Israeli targets, the State Department said Thursday.

Spokesman Sean McCormack said Israel was acting on its right to defend itself in carrying out retaliatory air strikes on a compound and other targets in the Gaza Strip.

He said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to discuss the continuing violence in the region.

"She wanted to talk to them directly and see how they they saw the situation. We certainly want to see a reduction or an end to the violence," he said, referring to the intense factional fighting among Palestinians that has gone on in Gaza for the past several days.

McCormack said the the cross-border violence started with attacks on Israel from Palestinian territory.