Palestinians inspect the remains of a destroyed building by Israeli airstrike, in the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis, on Nov. 12, 2018. At least six Islamic Hamas militants were killed on Sunday night in Israeli airstrikes on southeastern Gaza Strip, east of the city of Khan Younis, medical sources said. (Xinhua/Khaled Omar)
GAZA, Nov. 11 (Xinhua) -- At least six Islamic Hamas militants were killed on Sunday night in Israeli airstrikes on southeastern Gaza Strip, east of the city of Khan Younis, medical sources said.
Ashraf al-Qedra, spokesman of the health ministry in Gaza told reporters that seven other Palestinians were injured in the intensive Israeli airstrikes.
In response, Gaza militant groups fired barrages of rockets from the Gaza Strip into Israel, according to Israeli media and local Gaza media reports.
Al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas military wing, said in a press statement that "a special force that belongs to the Zionist enemy, driving a civilian car, infiltrated 3 km into the area of eastern Khan Younis in southern Gaza Strip."
"This special force killed the militant leader Nur Barakeh," said the statement. "After the special force was detected, our troops chased the force and dealt with it."
The group said the war planes then intervened and began to strike on the area to cover the withdrawal of the special force from the place.
Nur Barakeh, 37 years old, is the commander of Hamas military wing al-Qassam Brigades in the eastern area of Khan Younis.
Israel accused him of being responsible for digging tunnels, firing rockets into Israel, shooting at Israeli soldiers by snipers and carrying out attempts to kidnap Israeli soldiers.
It is the first military escalation between Hamas and the Israeli army in the Gaza Strip since an Egyptian-brokered understanding for calm in the Gaza Strip was reached between the two sides last month.
Eyad al-Bozzom, spokesman of the interior ministry in Gaza, confirmed that a security event happened east of the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Younis.
He added that several Palestinian members of the armed resistance were killed and wounded and the police declared a status of alert to follow up the incident.
Security sources and eyewitnesses said they heard the sound of an exchange of fire on the outskirts of the eastern part of the town, close to the border with Israel.
The eyewitnesses said that Israeli fighter jets hovered over the area and various sounds of bombs and explosions were heard.
Al-Bozzom declined to give more details on what happened in the area.