Israeli Air Strike Kills Five Palestinian Militants in Gaza

IDF statement says IAF targeted 'squad of terror operatives preparing to launch rockets toward Israeli territory.'

An Israel Air Force strike killed five Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip on Saturday, Israeli and Palestinian officials said.

The Israel Defense Forces said in a statement that its aircraft "targeted and identified hitting a squad of terror operatives who were preparing to launch rockets toward Israeli territory".

Palestinian hospital officials said the five were militants.

Militant groups identified the five dead as members of the Islamic Jihad and Popular Resistance Committees.

Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, says it has tried to curb rocket fire at Israel, but smaller groups continue to carry out such attacks.

The IDF said more than 200 cross-border missiles, rockets and mortars have been fired from Gaza this year.

A week ago, two Palestinian militants were killed and an Israel Defense Forces soldier was seriously wounded on Saturday evening in an exchange of fire on Israel's border with the Gaza Strip.

The exchange of fire was prompted by an attempt by Palestinian militants to infiltrate into Israel from Gaza.

Eli Hershkovich