Israeli aircraft struck what the military called “global jihad” targets in Gaza late on Tuesday killing at least one Palestinian and wounding 10, Palestinian officials said.
Israel said the targets were hardline followers of the global jihadist movement, planning cross-border attacks from neighbouring Egypt.
“The terrorists… were part of a wide global jihad infrastructure that includes terrorists from the Gaza Strip and Egypt,” military sources told AFP on condition of anonymity.
Palestinian medics said that a first strike killed Abdallah al-Telbani, 22, as he rode in Jabaliya refugee camp in the north of the strip. Two others were wounded but it was not clear if they were also in the same vehicle.
A second strike hit a jeep travelling east of Gaza City, injuring eight people, two of them seriously, Palestinian health ministry officials said.
An Israeli military statement said both strikes were aimed at jihadist militants.
“Following the targeting of a global jihad affiliated terrorist and an additional member… aircraft targeted an additional terrorist squad affiliated with the global jihad terror movement,” it said.
It said that a squad targeted in the second raid was known to the military, “due to its attempt in carrying out a terror attack on the Israel-Egypt border,” but did not elaborate.
The military sources said that the strip’s Hamas rulers knew of the men’s plans.
“The Hamas terror organisation was aware of the intention to execute a terror attack via the Sinai peninsula, nevertheless Hamas prefers to avoid confronting global jihad members,” they added.
In August, gunmen infiltrated southern Israel from Sinai and carried out a coordinated series of ambushes on buses and cars on route 12, which runs along the Egyptian border some 20 kilometres (12 miles) north of the Red Sea resort of Eilat.
The attacks took place over several hours, leaving eight dead and more than 25 wounded.
On December 8, shortly after Israeli troops went on high alert along the border over fears a fresh squad of gunmen had crossed into southern Israel, Israeli aircraft killed two men in Gaza City that the military said had been planning another raid from Sinai, which also borders Gaza.
“The Israel Defence Forces will not tolerate any attempt to harm Israeli civilians and… soldiers, and will operate against anyone who uses terror against the state of Israel,” Tuesday night’s military statement said.
The latest air strikes came as Hamas and the rival Fatah of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas sought to implement a reconciliation deal.
Since 2007, the Palestinian territories have been politically divided into two separate territories, with Fatah largely ruling the West Bank and Hamas governing Gaza.
In May, following years of bitter rivalry, the two factions signed a unity agreement which has yet to be implemented.
Gaza militants in October announced a truce with Israel but the ceasefire has been been a shaky one with sporadic rocket fire drawing Israeli retaliation.
The last Israeli strike on the strip was on December 11, when a Palestinian father and his daughter were wounded in a raid that apparently targeted a neighbouring building in Gaza City.
Two days earlier, a man and his 12-year-old son were killed and 10 civilians wounded when an Israeli air strike hit a family home in Gaza City which was located next to a Hamas militant training ground.
The operations followed days of rising tensions, with Gaza militants lobbing a barrage of rockets into southern Israel and the Israeli military launching a series of air raids.