GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - A Hamas activist and three relatives were killed Friday in an explosion at his home in Gaza City, hospital officials said. Palestinians said the house was hit by an Israeli tank shell.
The Israeli military said it fired in the area but denied using artillery or tanks. The house is near the Karni cargo crossing between Israel and Gaza, where Israeli tanks and troops have been massing during a three-week offensive, sometimes entering the territory.
The house belonged to Hamas activist Mohammed Harara, 26, who was killed, said relatives who saw the bodies at Gaza's Shifa Hospital. Also killed were his mother and two of his brothers, both in their 20s, said Gaza Hospital spokesman Dr. Jumah Sakah. A fifth person was initially thought to have been killed but hospital officials said that was a mistake.
On Thursday, the Israeli army dropped Arabic-language leaflets over Gaza City, warning that houses were potential targets. Israeli forces have mostly attacked government compounds and open areas where militants fire rockets at Israel.
Israeli air and ground forces also raided a Gaza refugee camp for a second day, killing three Palestinians.
The Israeli offensive began after Hamas-linked militants captured an Israeli soldier in a June 25 cross-border raid.
More than 100 Palestinians have been killed, the U.N. reported. Many of the victims were gunmen, but at least 16 were minors. Israeli forces have mostly attacked government compounds and open areas militants use to fire rockets toward Israel.
The offensive has continued even as Israel wages a new campaign in Lebanon against Hezbollah, which began July 12 after guerrillas crossed the border and captured two soldiers.
On Thursday, Israeli aircraft carried out a series of strikes against Palestinian militants in the Mughazi refugee camp in central Gaza, the army said. Two militants were killed and at least 15 people, many of them civilians, were wounded, Palestinian medical officials said.
Earlier Thursday, a Palestinian teenager was killed in Mughazi as militants and troops exchanged fire, doctors said. A 10-year-old Palestinian girl also died of wounds suffered in an airstrike a day earlier, doctors said. Nine people, eight of them militants, were killed in the area in Wednesday's fighting.
Israeli forces were pulling out of the camp early Friday, residents said, and the military confirmed that the two-day sweep was completed.
Residents said the troops left behind considerable destruction, tearing up water pipes and electric wires.
Israeli forces also fought with Palestinians in the West Bank city of Nablus, where a standoff between troops and militants pressed into a second day. Troops and tanks surrounded a security compound where the militants were holed up.
Tanks fired five shells at the buildings to try to force the militants inside to surrender. Israeli troops fired steel-coated rubber bullets at protesting Palestinians, wounding five, one seriously, Palestinian medics said.
About 4,000 Palestinians demonstrated in Nablus in support of Hezbollah, calling on the militia's leader, Hassan Nasrallah, to attack Israel with rockets.