Israeli airstrikes in Gaza overnight have left at least nine Palestinians dead, according to Hamas officials.
Sami Abu Zuhri, a spokesman for the Hamas government, told the Ma'an news agency that six of its fighters were killed by Israeli airstrikes on a tunnel in Rafah overnight.
Zuhri characterized the missile strikes as an "escalation" of recent violence and vowed Hamas would respond with its own forms of retaliation.
Other individuals, also described as 'fighters,' were killed in separate bombings: one at a training base near Rafah and two others at the al-Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza.
In addition, according to a medical officer who spoke to Ma'an, "a child, two teenage girls and two men were injured by an airstrike in the town of Beit Hanoun."
The New York Times adds:
The cycle of violence has continued in the wake of the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank last month and the grisly revenge killing of a Palestinian teenager in Jerusalem last week.
Six of the Hamas militants were apparently killed in a tunnel in Rafah that Hamas officials said was used for “resistance,” not smuggling.
There was some initial confusion within Hamas over whether the tunnel collapse or explosion was the result of an Israeli airstrike or an accident, but Hamas later blamed Israel. A resident of Rafah said there had been an Israeli strike in the area early Sunday.
In a short video clip, the Hamas military wing accused Israel of bringing death and destruction to Gaza and warned the residents of Beersheba to flee “before it is too late.”
According to Agence France-Presse, at least some of the Israeli missiles fired on Gaza were launched from unpiloted drones.