The IDF carried out two separate operations against terror groups in Gaza Thursday morning.

According to the IDF spokesman, the Israel Air Force fired at a terrorist preparing to launch a high-trajectory weapon toward Israel just before noon on Thursday. Palestinian sources confirmed one dead and one injured in Gaza's Zeitun neighborhood.

Earlier in the morning, the IDF armored brigades and the Israel Air Force fired on a Hamas unit in the Gaza Strip preparing to fire anti-tank missiles at IDF forces engaging in routine activities along the Gaza border fence.

The Palestinian Ma'an News Agency quoted Gazan Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra as saying three Palestinian civilians were injured in the strike east of Gaza City, one of them critically.

Direct confrontations between Israel and Gaza's governing Islamists have been rare since their 2008-2009 war, though fighting with smaller Palestinian factions has persisted. A flare-up last month killed nine Gazans, including Hamas members, and prompted neighboring Egypt to broker a ceasefire.

On Monday, heavy machine-gun fire from Gaza struck cars some 3 km (2 miles) inside Israel, causing no casualties, the military said. No Palestinian faction claimed responsibility.

"The Hamas terror organization is solely responsible for any terrorist activity emanating from the Gaza Strip," the Israeli military spokesman said in a statement on Thursday.

But a senior Israeli politician struck a different note, telling a Tel Aviv think-tank that Hamas had been making a "big effort" to prevent cross-border shelling by other Gaza factions.

"All this is not a result of love of Zion, but because of Israeli deterrence," Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor told the Institute for National Security Studies. "They do not want to be dragged into another round (of fighting) which for them - mainly for them - would be very tough."

Reuters contributed to this report.

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