Anshel Pfeffer
February 11, 2009 - 1:00am

Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired four mortar shells at the western Negev during the course of the day Wednesday, a day after Israel held general elections, the results of which are likely to influence any future peace deal in the region.

A Qassam rocket fired by Gaza militants exploded late Tuesday evening in an open field near the western Negev city of Sderot, just half an hour before the polls were to close.

Also Tuesday night, someone opened fire on a car with Israeli license plates near the settlement of Beit El in the West Bank. No injuries were reported in the incident.

Security personnel who examined the scene of the shooting found 17 bullet shells on the ground.

Nearly 40 Qassam rockets, mortar shells, and Grad missiles have been fired at Israel since a shaky cease-fire with Hamas took effect over two weeks ago, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

Egypt is currently mediating separate talks with Hamas and Israel over a long-term truce in the embattled Gaza Strip.

Delegates from both sides have been shuttling back and forth to Cairo in recent week in an attempt to reach a solution that would include an agreement on the release of abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit and the opening of Gaza border crossings.

A Hamas representative in Lebanon on Tuesday said the group was waiting to see how the outcome of the Israeli elections would affect the negotiations over Gaza.

"It all depends on the ouctome of the Israeli elections," Osama Hamdan told Deutsche Presse-Agentur


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017