The Israeli military authorities said that the strikes early on Monday were in response to “rocket attacks against southern Israel,” and that they were targeting nine “terror” sites and concealed rocket launchers.
They said the attacks had made “direct hits”.
Hamas said that seven of its fighters were killed in the attacks and another four were injured. The group said the strikes were launched at a Hamas meeting point in Gaza’s southern-most town of Rafah, at the Egyptian border, while another hit northern Gaza.
Israel said the recent air strikes followed a surge in rocket strikes at Israel from Gaza, where Hamas is the dominant force. The Israeli military said these attacks have topped 150 since mid-June, including 25 rockets striking Israel on Sunday.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged to his cabinet on Sunday “to do whatever is necessary” to restore quiet to southern Israeli communities.
Mr Netanyahu also cautioned against any rush toward wider confrontation with Hamas, whose arsenal includes long-range rockets that can reach Israel’s heartland and its business capital, Tel Aviv.
Monday’s fatalities were the single largest toll for Hamas since Israel’s “pillar of defence” in late 2012 was launched to halt rocket fire at its towns. In that eight-day war, some 180 Palestinians and six Israelis were killed.