An Israeli air strike killed three Islamic Jihad militants in southern Gaza on Tuesday, a spokesman for the Hamas-run health ministry told AFP.
The Israeli army confirmed the strike, saying the air force had targeted Islamic Jihad militants who had fired a mortar round at troops.
The group’s armed wing, the Al-Quds Brigades, confirmed that the three were its members, naming them as Abedlshafi Muamer, 33; Shaher Abu Shanab, 24, and Ismail Abu Jawdeh, 23.
It said they had been killed after firing mortars in a bid to try and prevent an Israeli incursion east of Khan Yunis.
A witness confirmed Israeli tanks and bulldozers had tried to enter the area.
The three were buried in the southern border city of Rafah later in the afternoon, with thousands attending their funeral, angrily calling for revenge.
The Israeli army said the raid targeted Islamic Jihad after they “fired a mortar shell” at troops operating nearby.
“An IAF aircraft responded immediately in order to prevent further attacks on Israeli civilians and targeted the terrorist squad. Direct hits were confirmed,” a statement said.
The air strike came just hours after an unmanned aircraft of the sort Israel uses for surveillance and missile strikes crashed in the same area, just east of Khan Yunis.
It was unclear if the two incidents were related.
Late Tuesday night, militants in Gaza fired a rocket that hit southern Israel, an army statement said. The rocket exploded “in an open area” and caused no injuries or damage, it said.