JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Palestinians in the Gaza Strip fired two rockets at a southern Israeli port city on Monday and Israel's Iron Dome interceptor shot down one while the other fell into the sea, a military spokeswoman said.

The pre-dawn salvo on Ashkelon, about 12 km (7 miles) north of Gaza, was unusual given the relative restraint of Palestinian militants since last November's war between the coastal enclave's Islamist Hamas rulers and the Jewish state.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the launches, which came as Hamas tips into financial and political crisis after being cut off from neighboring Egypt by the new, military-guided interim government in Cairo. Hamas has also been challenged at times by more radical, armed Gaza Islamists.

Hamas has tried to mend ties with Egypt while appealing to rival Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, whose administration holds sway in the occupied West Bank, to abandon U. S.-sponsored peace talks with Israel.

It has also signaled readiness to fight again, taking responsibility last week for a tunnel which the Israelis discovered running into their territory from Gaza and said was likely intended for kidnapping soldiers or setting off underground explosives.

The Israeli military spokeswoman said a mortar bomb was fired across the border from Gaza on Sunday, but caused no damage or casualties.

(Writing by Dan Williams, editing by Elizabeth Piper)

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