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Gaza clash erupts despite Israeli ceasefire

Israeli forces and Palestinian militants exchanged fire in the Gaza Strip, hours after Israel declared a unilateral ceasefire, the sources said.

world Updated: Jan 18, 2009 13:07 IST

Israeli forces and Palestinian militants exchanged fire in the Gaza Strip on Sunday, hours after Israel declared a unilateral ceasefire, the Israeli military and Hamas sources said.

"Gunmen fired at our forces in the northern Gaza Strip," an Israeli military spokesman said. "They returned fire from the ground and the air and they saw that gunmen were hit. There were no casualties among the troops."

Hamas sources, commenting on the brief incident, said there had been an exchange of fire in the morning near Jabalya refugee camp.

The unilateral ceasefire that Israel declared went into effect at 2 a.m. (0000 GMT), after more than three weeks of fighting. Israel said its troops would remain in the Gaza Strip for the time being and respond with force if fired upon.

Hamas said it would not accept the presence of a single Israeli soldier in the Gaza Strip and would "continue to resist them", an elastic term that could stop short of rocket salvoes cited by Israel as the reason for launching its offensive.

There were no reports of rocket fire at Israel on Sunday morning.