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A Palestinian militant was killed and four others were wounded in an Israeli air strike on Tuesday in the central Gaza strip, medics and a Palestinian militant group said.

Abu Mujahed, the spokesman for the Hamas-allied Popular Resistance Committees, said militants opened fire on Israeli forces on the Israeli side of the Gaza border.

An Israeli aircraft then fired a missile at the gunmen.

The Israel Defense Forces confirmed that it carried out the air strike late Tuesday.

In Hamas-ruled Gaza, Palestinian medics said five were hurt in the air raid in the town of Khan Younis, and that one had died of his injuries.

The fatality was the first of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict this year. Israel killed six militants in two separate incidents in Gaza and the occupied West Bank late in December.

Israel has pledged to retaliate against any attacks from Gaza. Most of Israel's recent air attacks in Gaza have targeted tunnels used by militants for smuggling from Egypt, and often have not caused any casualties.

Militants this week fired several mortars at Israel, which caused no casualties or damage.