Israel Closes Gaza Crossings in Response to Rocket Attack

Israel crossings with the Gaza Strip were closed Friday in retaliation for ongoing rocket fire that has violated a rocky truce.

Under the terms of the June 19 cease-fire, Palestinian militants were to have halted all assaults on southern Israel and Israel was to have eased its bruising blockade of the Gaza Strip by letting more supplies reach the impoverished territory.

But since the truce took hold, 11 rockets and mortars have been fired toward Israel, including a rocket attack on Thursday, the military said.

Military spokesman Peter Lerner said the latest closure was provoked by the attack Thursday.

Ismail Haniyeh, the prime minister of Hamas-ruled Gaza, accused Israel of not living up to its part of the truce.

"We still say that maintaining the calm is a national interest, but the Israelis must commit to lifting the siege and opening the crossings," Haniyeh told reporters after Muslim prayers at a Gaza mosque.

Israel imposed the economic sanctions on Gaza's 1.4 million people a year ago, after the violently Islamic Hamas overran the territory. Only food and humanitarian supplies have been allowed in and Palestinians report severe shortages in everything from gasoline to cement and shoes.

Much rests on the truce, with Israel warning it might launch a large-scale operation there if the rocket attacks do not cease. An invasion would most likely bring large numbers of casualties and prompt the moderate Palestinian leadership in the West Bank, headed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, to call off peace talks with Israel.

Israel has said it would not implement any agreement reached in the U.S.-backed talks as long as Hamas still controls Gaza.