Israel killed at least eight Palestinians in the southern Gaza Strip, Palestinian witnesses said early on Thursday. At least 25 Palestinians were wounded.
An air strike killed one Palestinian fighter and seriously wounded two others as they confronted more than 50 Israeli tanks and armored personnel carriers advancing near Rafah airport.
Islamic Jihad confirmed the dead and wounded men were its members. One of the wounded men later died, sources said.
A second airstrike east of Rafah killed a member of Hamas and wounded another.
As the tanks pushed deeper into the eastern part of Rafah, Israeli gunfire killed a Palestinian civilian man and wounded two others, witnesses said. A missile that landed near a hospital in east Rafah wounded three civilians.
Another Palestinian boy was killed Thursday by the Israeli fire. Israeli tanks and troops moved back into southern Gaza early Thursday.
Residents and Palestinian security sources said about 50 tanks, accompanied by bulldozers, crossed about 1.5 kilometers into Gaza, taking up positions in a village outside the town of Rafah and at the Gaza airport, which has been out of commission for several years.