Israeli air strikes on Gaza kill militant commanders and family members

The Israeli military said it struck what it called Islamic Jihad targets in the Gaza Strip early on Tuesday, claiming three senior militant commanders and members of their families were killed in the attacks.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said at least nine people died including a number of children.

Local media reports the strikes hit the residences of senior members of the group and a house in the southern city of Rafah.

The ministry said the bombings, codenamed 'Operation Shield and Arrow,' targeted Khalil Bahtini, the Islamic Jihad commander for the northern Gaza Strip; Tareq Izzeldeen, the group's intermediary between its Gaza and West Bank members; and Jehad Ghanam, the secretary of the Islamic Jihad's military council.

Islamic Jihad, which is smaller than the dominant, ruling Hamas movement, confirmed that the three were among the dead.

The latest attacks come as tension boils between Israel and militants in Gaza, which is ruled by Hamas.

Israel has been conducting almost daily raids to detain Palestinians suspected of carrying out attacks on Israelis as violence increases in the occupied West Bank.

In anticipation of rocket attacks in response, the Israeli military told residents within 40 kilometres of Gaza to stay close to bomb shelters.