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GAZA (Reuters) - Israel launched air strikes in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, killing a gunman from the ruling Islamist faction Hamas and wounding five other Palestinians, medical sources said, after militants fired rockets into southern Israel.
No injuries were reported in the rocket attack on the Israeli city of Beersheba, where officials said the Grad battlefield rockets landed in open ground.
Israel and Hamas fought a three-week war in Gaza between 2008 and 2009 but the territory has since seen stretches of relative calm. Though Hamas spurns peace with the Jewish state, it has signaled willingness to hold fire as it consolidates its control over Gaza.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said his country had struck back at Hamas though the rocket attack late on Monday had been carried out by Islamic Jihad, a smaller Palestinian faction.
"We see Hamas as responsible for everything that emanates from Gaza, and therefore they were hit overnight," Barak told Non-Stop Radio, a Tel Aviv broadcaster.
There was no immediate comment from Hamas or Islamic Jihad.
The Israeli military said its aircraft attacked four Gazan targets. Barak said these were a Palestinian rocket squad, a weapons cache and two Hamas outposts.
Medical sources affiliated with Hamas said three of the group's gunmen were hit in one of the air strikes and one later died of his wounds.
Three Palestinian civilians, one of them a boy, were also hurt, the sources said.
(Reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi and Dan Williams; Writing by Allyn Fisher-Ilan; Editing by Andrew Heavens)
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