Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas pledged on Sunday to do all he can to stop rocket and mortar attacks by Palestinian militants against Israeli settlements in Gaza and towns just outside.

‘We are determined to stop the launching of the homemade rockets, whatever the price,’ Abbas told reporters at his Gaza office. ‘We are going to do our utmost to stop these rockets. I cannot promise how much time it will take me.’

A series of attacks and counterattacks that have taken place over the past few days have left the 5-month-old truce in tatters.  The violence has also shaken the commitment to 9 months of ‘calm’ declared by the Palestinian factions during talks in Cairo in March.

Abbas warned against a major Israeli military operation in Gaza Strip. ‘The Americans told us that there is an Israeli intention’ (to attack), he siad.’If this happens, this will sabotage everything.’

Threatening to invade the Gaza Strip, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said at a cabinet meeting Sunday that thousands of Israeli troops have massed along the Gaza border and that all restraints are off.

A few days ago, Palestinian security forces opened fire at Hamas men who were en route to fire home-made Qassam rockets at Israeli targets.  This resulted in clashes that lasted for two days.  The violence ended with two Palestinians killed and over 20 injured in the Gaza Strip.