Militants fire rockets at Israel during Obama visit | Middle East| News and analysis of events in the Arab world | DW | 21.03.2013
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Middle East

Militants fire rockets at Israel during Obama visit

Israeli police say Gaza militants have fired two rockets at Israel as US President Obama visits the region. Meanwhile, Palestinian activists have erected a protest camp demanding an end to Obama's support for Israel.

Two rockets reportedly fired by militants in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip hit southern Israel on the second day of US President Barack Obama's visit to the country.

"One exploded in the back yard of a house in Sderot, causing damage and the second landed in a field," police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told news agency AFP following Thursday's attack. No deaths or injuries had been reported following the attack, Rosenfeld added.

Sderot, which is close to the Gaza border, was visited by Obama on a previous trip he made to the country in 2008 when he was a US senator.

Thursday's blast was only the second such attack since the end of an eight-day battle between Israel and Hamas militants in November that killed over 170 Palestinians and six Israelis. In February, militants fired a single rocket near the southern costal town of Ashkelon which they said at the time was in protest to the death of a Palestinian prisoner in Israeli custody.

Obama arrived in Israel on Wednesday, his first visit to the country since being elected president.

He is expected to travel to Ramallah on Thursday for talks with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

Obama protests

Meanwhile on Wednesday, Palestinian activists pitched a protest camp on the site where Israel plans to erect thousands of new settler homes.

The plan, called E1, to build housing in a section of the West Bank sparked a major international backlash, with experts saying it could dash all hope for the establishment of a viable Palestinian state.

Close to 200 Palestinian's erected tents on the controversial site just outside Jerusalem to "send a message to Obama to tell him: Obama, enough with the bias and support for Israel," Abdullah Abu Rahma, a protest camp organizer told AFP.

jlw/dr (AP, AFP, dpa)

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