updated 7/24/2006 8:57:35 AM ET 2006-07-24T12:57:35

Israeli artillery fire killed three Palestinians on Monday in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahiya, Palestinian hospital officials said.

The fire came after the army said that Palestinians launched six rockets into Israel, causing no casualties.

Israel began on June 28 a broad military offensive in the Gaza Strip, in response to an attack on a base near the Gaza border and ongoing rocket fire.

Palestinian officials had said Saturday that Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades had reached an agreement to stop firing rockets if Israel calls off the Gaza offensive it launched last month after Hamas-linked militants captured a soldier and killed two others in a raid on an Israeli military post. The militant groups denied an agreement had been reached.

Under the reported deal, the rocket fire was supposed to end at midnight Saturday.

Abu Ahmad, an Islamic Jihad spokesman, said no agreement had been reached.

“As long as there is Zionist aggression, we will continue our resistance,” he said, adding that talks on an agreement had not ended yet.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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