Israeli forces have killed a Palestinian terrorist and wounded two in what is believed to be the fiercest exchange of fire between Israeli forces and Palestinian terrorists since a ceasefire agreed to in November.
Residents said the helicopters fired at least two missiles at Palestinian terror hideouts near the Jabalya terrorist training camp early on Saturday.
An Israeli army spokesperson said the helicopters fired at a group of militants who had tried to plant an explosive device near the border fence.
Islamic Jihad said its terrorists and members of another terror group had been mounting an operation near the fence when the exchange of fire occurred.
Local residents said Israeli tanks had entered the area, which the army denied.
"The army has found 40 explosives planted in that area since the November ceasefire," an army spokesman said.
The IDF reports the men were planning an attack and had observed suspicious activity. As a result they say they were compelled to enter to respond to the preparation.
Peretz allows operations to stop terror attacks.
Amir Peretz, the Israeli defence minister, authorised the army on Monday to carry out operations against Gaza.
Some Palestinian groups have carried on firing rockets into Israel from Gaza despite the truce, and Peretz said the Jewish state would "not allow the continued strengthening and arming" of fighters in the coastal strip.
A local leader of al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades was wounded by Israeli fire on Saturday in the West Bank, residents said.
Zakaria al-Zubeidi, an al-Aqsa commander from the Jenin refugee camp, was shot in the shoulder by Israeli troops, members of the group said.