At least four Palestinians, including two civilians, were killed and 16 injured in the latest Israeli incursion in the Gaza Strip early Tuesday, medics and the army said. The operation included Israeli tanks inside the Palestinian territory and air strikes carried out against targets near the southern town of Khan Yunis, they said, according to AFP.
The victims included two Hamas fighters, 24-year-old Mohammed Abu Musameh and Omar al-Qarrah, and two civilians, 40-year-old Ibrahim al-Shami and Qarrah's mother, Sabha.
Islamic Jihad and Hamas fighters said they were clashing with Israeli troops near the town of Khan Yunis when they were targeted from the air. Islamic Jihad said one of its men was seriously wounded and evacuated to hospital.
An Israeli army spokesman said the operation was carried out to try to find a suspected tunnel network at the Gazan frontier and prevent cross-border Palestinian rocket fire. "During the operation, our forces encountered gunmen and fired on them, hitting at least four," the spokesman said, according to Reuters.