Israeli aircraft strike Gaza tunnels-residents
Israeli aircraft struck at tunnels used for smuggling goods and weapons on the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt on Wednesday, residents of the Gaza town of Rafah and Hamas security officials said.
Rafah residents began to flee their homes in panic as the aircraft struck three times before dawn, Hamas officials said. There was no initial word of any casualties, Reuters reported.
An Israeli army spokeswoman said she was checking the report.
The strike came as an apparent response to Tuesday's attack by Gaza militants on an Israeli military vehicle that was hit by a roadside bomb while patrolling the Gaza border, killing one soldier and wounding three others.
An air strike shortly afterwards killed one Palestinian on a motorcycle but Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said late on Tuesday that it was only an initial reaction and that Israel's full response was still to come, Israeli media websites reported.
The Israeli military said its aircraft hit a large number of tunnels during their 22-day campaign in the coastal enclave which ended earlier this month in which some 1,300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed.
Israel began its attack on Gaza, ruled by the Islamist group Hamas, on Dec. 27 saying it wanted to stop militant rocket fire into nearby Israeli towns.
Hamas and Israel declared separate ceasefires and are negotiating through Egyptian mediators on a longer-term truce. Hamas wants Israel to lift its blockade of the Gaza Strip. Israel wants guarantees that Hamas will not again fire rockets at Israeli towns.