GAZA, April 13 (Reuters) - Two Palestinian gunmen were killed and three wounded in Israeli military strikes in the Gaza Strip
on Tuesday, Palestinian medics and the Israeli army said.
The Palestinian deaths were the first in the Islamist Hamas
-ruled territory since three gunmen and two Israeli soldiers were killed more than two weeks ago in the most serious clash between the two sides in 14 months.
A spokesman for the Islamic Jihad
group said Israeli tanks fired shells and a helicopter launched a missile at its men east of the al-Bureij refugee camp
in the central Gaza Strip.
An Israeli army spokeswoman said: An Israeli force identified a number of suspects planting explosives along the security fence (with Gaza). It fired at the suspects, identifying direct hits.
A Palestinian hospital source said the three wounded men were in serious condition.
The Gaza Strip is controlled by the Hamas movement, which wrested control of the coastal enclave from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
faction in 2007.
Hamas has largely held its fire since a costly three-week war with Israel
in the opening days of 2009 in which some 1,400 Palestinians, mainly civilians, and 13 Israelis, mostly soldiers, were killed.
But smaller factions like Islamic Jihad have ignored the de facto truce by firing rockets and mortar shells into Israel. (Reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi, writing by Ori Lewis; Editing by Ralph Gowling)