Israeli military denies staging Gaza air strike

The Israeli military denied Palestinian reports of an air strike and artillery fire near Gaza City Wednesday morning in which Palestinians said three people were killed.

A Hamas radio station in the Gaza Strip said an Israeli aircraft attacked a vehicle east of the city, and medics said one unidentified occupant died in the blast. A short time earlier, Palestinian hospital officials said, two men were killed in the same area by what appeared to be an Israeli tank or artillery shell. They said initial reports that one of the dead was a child were mistaken.

The Israeli military said no such incidents took place.

"There were no attacks," a spokesman said.

Palestinians also said an armed man known to be an Islamic Jihad activist was killed before dawn in a shootout with troops in the southern Gaza town of Khan Younis.

The army said troops had been operating in that area and there had been exchanges of fire, but no further details were available.

Since Hamas militants wrested control of Gaza from the more moderate Fatah two weeks ago Israel has fired missiles and sent tanks on occasional forays into the coastal strip, to combat Palestinian rocket fire at southern Israel. An air strike Sunday on a car in Gaza City, killed an Islamic Jihad militant.