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Israel air strike targets Gaza militants

An Israeli air strike targeted Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip early today, sources on both sides said.

world Updated: Jan 22, 2012 07:56 IST

An Israeli air strike targeted Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip early on Saturday, sources on both sides said.

A security source from the Islamist Hamas movement which controls the territory said that the warplanes struck in the south of the enclave, close to the border with Israel.

The raid targeted militants from the Popular Resistance Committees who were laying explosives near the border, witnesses from the hardline faction told AFP.

The witnesses said there were no casualties among the militants but the Israeli military said that it had confirmed a hit.

"A short while ago, Israeli army aircraft targeted a terrorist squad in the southern Gaza Strip," a statement said.

"The squad fired rockets seconds before being targeted. A hit was confirmed."

After a three-week lull at the turn of the year, there has been an increase in the number of incidents on the Israel-Gaza border in recent days.

On Friday night, Gaza militants fired a rocket into southern Israel without causing any casualties or damage.

On Thursday, a military spokesman said that Israeli forces arrested three Palestinians overnight as they tried to enter Israel from the southern Gaza Strip.

A Palestinian security source said just two men had been held, and said they were captured inside Gaza by Israeli special forces.

Also on Thursday, the army said two rockets fired from Gaza hit the southern Eshkol and Shaar Hanegev regions, without causing casualties or damage.

Since the beginning of the year, the army says it has counted seven rockets fired into southern Israel.

On Wednesday, an Israeli air raid on northern Gaza killed two Palestinians and wounded a third.

The military said the raid targeted a group of men who were laying explosives along the border, but Palestinian officials said they were setting traps for birds.