( dpa ) - Israel killed three Gaza-Strip Palestinians in separate air strikes Wednesday, as militants in the salient fired at least 20 rockets and mortars at the Jewish state.
Two Palestinian civilians were killed and six wounded in the late afternoon in an Israeli air strike on the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun , medical officials and witnesses said.
An Israeli military spokeswoman in Tel Aviv said the attack was aimed at a militant cadre in the area which had just fired rockets at the town of Sderot , which lies just across the Gaza border.
The intended target survived the attack, the militants said, but the Israeli missile hit a building in the town, where it killed two people and wounded six others, who were evacuated to a nearby hospital for treatment.
Earlier Wednesday, Israeli artillery shelling killed a member of the radical Islamic Jihad faction, shortly after a barrage of rockets hit southern Israel.
The Jihad said the rockets were launched to show the hardline group's rejection of the visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories of US President George W Bush, who arrived on Wednesday for talks on the peace process with Israeli and Palestinian leaders.
Another Gaza-based militant group, the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) also claimed responsibility for launching nine projectiles, likewise to express opposition to the presidential visit.
The Palestinian rockets caused no Israeli fatalities, but several people received light injuries and others were treated for shock.
Two of the missiles landed in private homes in Sderot . The residents of one of the houses managed to take shelter and avoided the missile, which landed on the bed of a two-year-old boy.
The other house was empty when the missile struck.