Gaza, March 6 – An Israeli air strike killed three Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, said medical workers in the Hamas-controlled coastal territory.
They said two militants were killed at the scene of the air strike near the Israel-Gaza border and a third died of his wounds later in hospital. A fourth militant was also injured.
An Israeli army spokesman said the air strike targeted a group of militants who had fired an anti-tank missile towards a military patrol on the Israeli side of the border.
Palestinian militants in Gaza fired three rockets into southern Israel after the air strike, the army said. No injuries or damage were reported.
The Islamic Jihad militant group claimed responsibility for the rocket fire and vowed to launch more attacks against Israel to avenge the killing of the three fighters, one of whom was a member of its military wing.
On Wednesday, Israeli warplanes killed an Islamic Jihad field commander in the enclave and the militant group vowed to avenge his death.
In late December, Israel launched a 22-day offensive in the Gaza Strip that was designed to punish militants for mounting cross-border rocket and mortar attacks on the Jewish state.
While Egypt has been trying to consolidate a Jan. 18 truce, militants have carried out sporadic attacks and Israel has usually responded with air strikes on suspected smuggling tunnels on the Gaza-Egypt border.