Relatives carry the body of two-year-old Malek Shaat during his funeral in the Rafah refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, on Friday. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: Israeli aircraft struck Hamas outposts in Gaza and Palestinians fired rockets into southern Israel yesterday as violence escalated following deadly gun attacks along Israel's porous border with Egypt.

The sudden spike in violence threatened to upset the already frayed ties between Israel and Egypt and escalate the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

Gaza fighters, blamed for shooting attacks near the Egyptian border that killed eight Israelis, denied yesterday that they were involved, as the hunt for the killers moved to Egypt.

"We salute [the operation] and we are proud of it, but we do not claim it," Popular Resistance Committees spokesman Abu Mujahid told AFP in the Gaza city of Rafah as the faction buried five members killed in a retaliatory Israeli air strike a day earlier.

As the air force pounded targets across the Gaza Strip, fighters there lobbed 12 rockets at southern Israel early yesterday, injuring three — one seriously and one moderately — in the city of Ashdod, police said.

Several hours earlier, one Gazan was killed and 17 injured as Israel bombarded the strip following a day of violence.

Egypt's military chief of staff, Sami Enan, meanwhile, headed to the Sinai to probe the deaths of five policemen killed the previous day, a military source said.