Middle East

Israeli air strike kills two militants in northern Gaza

Map of Israel and Gaza

An Israeli air strike has killed two militants in the northern Gaza Strip, Israeli and Palestinian officials say.

The Israeli military said its strike targeted militants attempting to fire rockets into Israel.

Palestinians said that both victims were members of the Islamic Jihad group. Another militant was injured.

The air strike comes a day after militant groups in Hamas-run Gaza said they would halt rocket attacks on Israel if the Israelis reciprocated.

In a separate development, Israel says its new anti-rocket defence system is now operational.

The system's first radar-guided missiles, have been deployed near the southern city of Beersheba.

A second battery is to be deployed later near Ashdod.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cautioned that the system, known as Iron Dome, would not be able to provide 100% protection.

"The Iron Dome system is still in an experimental stage, and at any rate, we cannot deploy batteries that can protect every house, every school, every base and every facility," he said.

'Committed to calm'

Palestinian officials said the Israel strike targeted a car in the Jabaliya refugee camp on Sunday morning.

Islamic Jihad said the two men killed were the group's members. This was later confirmed by the health ministry in Gaza.

The Israeli military said that its strike targeted a group that was about to launch a rocket attack.

Image caption The past week has seen an escalation of attacks on Gaza

The air raid comes a day after militant groups in Gaza say they would agree to a ceasefire if Israel stopped attacks on the Palestinian territory.

The move was announced by Hamas, following its talks with other militant groups.

In a statement released after the meeting, Hamas said the insurgents were "committed to calm as long as the occupation (Israel) commits to it".

It was not immediately clear whether if Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza would now renege on their pledge.

But Sunday's air strike is a blow to those calling for calm after the recent escalation in violence, the BBC's Jon Donnison in Gaza reports.

In the past week at least 10 Palestinians, including several civilians and children, have been killed by Israeli attacks.

In the same period, militants in Gaza have fired more than 80 rockets and mortar shells into southern Israel.

In the past Hamas has not been able to rein in all militant groups in Gaza, our correspondent

He adds that Israel's military power is vastly superior to the Palestinian militants, and if there were another major conflict - similar to Israel's major offensive more than two years ago - Gaza would again come off worse.

More than 1,300 Palestinians died in the war two years ago. Thirteen Israelis were killed.