Palestinian witnesses say an Israeli aircraft has fired missiles at suspected Hamas militants preparing to fire rockets at Israeli targets in the Gaza Strip.

There were no immediate reports of casualties near the Khan Younis refugee camp, where the suspected militants were located. Witnesses said that several men apparently targeted by the aircraft escaped unharmed.

On Tuesday, four Palestinians and a Chinese laborer were killed in the Palestinian territories, in the deadliest day of violence since Israel and the Palestinians began observing a ceasefire four months ago. Three of the dead were killed by Hamas rocket fire in Gaza.

In related developments, Israeli media say some top security officials are lobbying the government to deliver a "crushing blow" to Hamas, ahead of Israel's planned evacuation of the Gaza Strip in August.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.