At least 11 Palestinians were killed in a number of Israeli strikes in Gaza Wednesday and Thursday.
The most recent strike took place around 2 am Thursday, when IAF jets attacked gunmen who were spotted near Beit Hanoun at a site from which Qassam rockets have been launched into Israel.
Palestinians reported that two Hamas gunmen were killed in the attack and that five others were injured.
Wednesday afternoon sources reported that five members of a small terror group linked to the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier last year were killed in an Israeli airstrike in the Strip.
Missiles fired by an Israeli aircraft slammed into a jeep as it traveled in the Zeitun neighborhood carrying members of the Army of Islam, the terror group implicated in the kidnapping of Corporal Gilad Shalit and BBC journalist Alan Johnston.
In a seperate incident, four Palestinians, including a kid, were killed and 20 others were injured when a tank shell hit a house in the Beit Hanun neighborhood in northern Gaza.
Youth injured in Beit Hanun carried to hospital (Photo: AP)
Eyewitnesses said 20 IDF tanks and bulldozers entered the northern Gaza Strip on Wednesday afternoon. The incursion appears to be in response to rocket from the area earlier Wednesday.
The IDF denied that troops deployed in northern Gaza had targeted civilians, saying that a tank had fired shells at a terror cell planning to fire rockets toward Israel.
IDF officials also confirmed the airstrike in Gaza City but gave no futher details.
Shalit was snatched by group of Hamas-led gunmen in June 2006 in a cross-border attack near the border with the Gaza Strip. He was then spirited to the tiny costal territory.
Palestinian sources said one of the terrorists killed in the blast was Khatab Al-Makdisi, the group's spokesperson, whom Israel accuses of links to Al-Qaeda.
The sources said the cell was behind a botched attempt to launch a large-scale terror attack against Israeli ships in the Mediterranean Sea.
The attack came hours after Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned that Israel was on the verge of launching a large-scale operation in the Gaza Strip.
Barak said that while Israel was using all the diplomatic means to weaken the Hamas regime in Gaza, a military operation against terror groups there was nearing.
Hanan Greenberg and AP contributed to this report