Israeli air and ground forces launched a limited assault on Palestinian terrorist forces based in southern Gaza early Tuesday morning.
At least two Hamas members were killed during a series of air strikes carried out by helicopter gun ships and armed clashes between Palestinian terrorist gunmen and Israeli soldiers. Palestinian sources cited by The Associated Press claimed that two civilians were also killed, and another 15 people were wounded during the raids.
Israeli army spokesmen said that in four separate incidents, soldiers spotted armed Palestinians and confirmed hitting their targets.
The operation was launched as part of a wider effort to stem the flow of illicit arms across the Gaza-Egypt border and curb ongoing Palestinian rocket attacks on southern Israel.