May 20, 2008 / 7:04 AM / 12 years ago

Israeli strikes, raid kill 5 Palestinians in Gaza

GAZA (Reuters) - Three Israeli air strikes and a raid in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip on Tuesday killed three Hamas militants and two Palestinian civilians, local medical workers and the Islamist group said.

A Palestinian child cries during the funeral for Ali al-Dahdoh in Gaza May 20, 2008 . Three Israeli air strikes in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip on Tuesday killed a Hamas militant and two other Palestinian civilians, one of them al-Dahdoh, local medical workers said. The latest air strike east of Gaza City killed a Hamas gunman and wounded three other civilians, medical workers said.An Israeli army spokeswoman confirmed the strike and said the target was a group of militants with ant-tank weapons. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

Israeli troops clashed with gunmen during a raid near Gaza City, killing one gunman, Hamas said.

Earlier, an air strike east of Gaza City killed two Hamas gunmen, one of whom died of his wounds in hospital, and wounded three civilians, medical workers said.

An Israeli army spokeswoman denied that a ground incursion had been carried out but confirmed the air strike and said the target was a group of militants with anti-tank weapons.

She also said an earlier strike in the northern Gaza Strip was aimed at a crew that had just launched rockets at the southern Israeli town of Sderot.

Palestinian medical workers said the militants had fled the area just before the strike and that a youth was killed.

A third strike in the central Gaza Strip killed a farmer and wounded two other Palestinians, hospital officials said.

The military spokeswoman said troops targeted militants who were planting explosives near the fence that Israel has erected along its border with Gaza.

Egypt has been trying to broker a truce between Israel and Hamas to end Gaza border violence.

Rockets fired from the Gaza Strip have killed two Israeli civilians this month in agricultural communities close to the frontier.

Israel frequently carries out raids and air strikes in the territory as part of what it describes as efforts to curb cross-border rocket fire.

Reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi, Writing by Ari Rabinovitch and Ori Lewis; Editing by Charles Dick

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