NATO offers Israel, Palestinians peacekeeping troops after Mideast peace deal

The Associated Press
Wednesday, February 9, 2011; 1:38 PM

HERZLIYA, Israel -- The secretary general of NATO is offering peacekeeping services to Israelis and Palestinians if both request it in a peace deal.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen told a security conference in Israel on Wednesday that NATO would intervene if a future peace treaty was broken or if the two sides needed assistance.

A spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he and Rasmussen discussed expanding cooperation between Israel and NATO. The spokesman would not say if Israel would accept Rasussen's offer.

Netanyahu insists Israel must have strict security guarantees in any peace deal.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said he would agree to have international peacekeepers deployed in a future Palestinian state for a limited time.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) - Officials in Israel and Gaza say Israeli aircraft have carried out retaliatory airstrikes in the territory after militants launched rockets into Israel.

Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Adham Abu Salmiya says the airstrikes overnight lightly wounded eight Palestinians. He says one strike set fire to a Health Ministry medicine warehouse in northern Gaza.

Israel's military said Wednesday that the strikes were in response to the firing of five rockets and mortars into Israel on Tuesday. The military said aircraft targeted a tunnel and two other sites used by militants.

The Hamas militants who rule Gaza have largely refrained from attacking Israel since Israel's Gaza offensive two years ago. But smaller groups continue to fire rockets and mortars.

© 2011 The Washington Post Company