JERUSALEM – Israeli aircraft struck Saturday at Palestinian militants in Gaza, who responded with a volley of rockets that rained on southern Israeli towns, Israeli and Palestinian officials said.

Palestinian officials said seven militants were killed, while on the Israeli side one civilian was killed and four others were wounded.

Exchanges of fire are common between southern Israel and the Gaza strip controlled by the militant Hamas group, but this is the worst one in months.

Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Adham Abu Salmia said that seven people were killed and 15 wounded in two separate attacks on militant targets.

Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said one Israeli civilian was killed and four others wounded when Palestinian rockets exploded in residential areas in southern Israel.

An Israeli military spokesman confirmed a total of three strikes in Gaza, saying the military hit Palestinian militants from the Islamic Jihad, one of several groups in Gaza which fires rockets into southern Israel. The spokesman said that the first attack specifically targeted a cell responsible for a Wednesday rocket attack that exploded deep inside Israel. That attack had caused no casualties.

The Israeli military released video footage taken from a military drone Saturday afternoon that shows Palestinians unloading rockets from a truck and preparing them for firing at Israel. The strike took place shortly afterward.