RAMALLAH, West Bank (AFP) - British Foreign Secretary David Miliband on Monday urged Israelis and the Palestinians to maintain a Gaza truce, which has been rattled by a recent flare-up of violence. "It is vital that the ceasefire is maintained," Miliband said at a press conference in the West Bank town of Ramallah following a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas. "The discussions you have had today seem to be a very important contribution to that," Miliband said in reference to Abbas's talks with Israel's caretaker Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. The five-month-old ceasefire between Israel and the Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip has been severely strained over the past two weeks following tit-for-tat exchanges of fire. Miliband earlier toured the southern Israeli town of Sderot, the regular target of rockets fired from nearby Gaza, together with Defence Minister Ehud Barak who said Israel "will act when the conditions are right" after the fighters fired seven rockets on Monday.