Four Hamas fighters and three Israeli soldiers were killed in intense fighting in the Gaza Strip Wednesday. Hamas and medical sources said at least five Palestinians were also hurt in the clashes in the central and northern Gaza Strip.
In the fighting , Israeli soldiers crossed into the central Gaza Strip in the Bureij area to chase Hamas fighters who had approached the fence. The Israeli army spokesman said two soldiers were killed and two others were wounded. Israeli army radio reported heavy exchanges of fire around Bureij. Medical sources said two Palestinian civilians were hurt when their house was hit by a tank shell.
Separately, Israeli troops entered the northern Gaza Strip in what the military spokesman said was a "routine operation" against Palestinians launching rockets. Israeli aircraft fired at gunmen, the army said. Hamas said four of its fighters were killed and three wounded.
Armoured vehicles hit and damaged a mosque, residents said.
Late on Tuesday, Israeli aircraft shot dead an Islamic Jihad commander riding on a motorcycle, and Israeli media reported a soldier near the fence was shot and wounded, apparently by a Palestinian sniper.