Middle East

Islamic Jihad militant killed in Gaza Strip air strike

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One Palestinian militant has been killed and at least two others injured in an Israeli air strike in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian medics say.

Islamic Jihad confirmed the dead man had been a member of its military wing.

The Israeli military said its aircraft had targeted two groups of militants east of Gaza City, which had been preparing to fire rockets into Israel.

Witnesses said they had earlier clashed with Israeli troops who crossed the Gaza border and entered a buffer zone.

Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, said it had dispatched forces to the area and that they had exchanged fire with the Israeli soldiers.

An Israeli military spokeswoman did not comment on the reported ground operation, but said it would "continue to take action against those [who] use terror against the State of Israel".

Islamic Jihad has been involved in a number of clashes with Israeli forces.

Last month, nine members of the group, as well as an Israeli civilian, were killed during several days of fighting.

The chief of staff of the Israeli military, Lt Gen Benny Gantz, has warned that it is prepared to launch an operation to protect the hundreds of thousands of civilians living in southern Israel from further rocket attacks.

"If we don't have a choice, we'll know how to operate in Gaza, and when it happens, we will initiate an orderly and painful [operation]," he warned.

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