Five Palestinians were killed on Wednesday by Israeli tank fire in the Gaza Strip, as Israel pressed on with a two-month old offensive against militants in the territory, hospital officials said.
Four Palestinians were killed in tank shelling of the Shejaiya neighbourhood of Gaza City, where the Israeli army has been conducting operations aimed at militants since Saturday night, they said.
According to witnesses, two Shejaiya residents, Rami al-Gharabli, 27, and Yasser al-Gharabli, 25, were trying to get out of their house encircled by Israeli tanks when they were struck.
Two other men, Raed Isbita, 23, and Mohand Jindiya, 23, attempted to help the pair when they were struck.
According to witnesses, all four were civilians.
An army spokesman said the tanks fired after "armed men approached troops operating in Shejaiya."
On Tuesday, three Palestinians, including a militant from the ruling Islamist Hamas movement, were killed and three others injured in Shejaiya.
Fifteen Palestinians have been killed in the neighborhood since the start of the Israeli operation there on Saturday.
Meanwhile in northern Gaza, a 24-year-old mentally handicapped man was killed overnight by Israeli fire after he approached the border with Israel, hospital officials said.
At least 200 Palestinians and one Israeli soldier have been killed in the Gaza Strip since June 28, when Israel launched a massive offensive to stop rocket attacks and recover a soldier captured by Palestinian militants in a cross-border raid that left two other troops dead.
The latest deaths brought to 5,366 the number of people killed since the start of the Palestinian uprising in September 2000, most of them Palestinians, according to an agency count.