The alleged attack comes at a time of heightened tensions in Gaza [Reuters]

A 65-year old Palestinian farmer has been killed by Israeli troops in the northern Gaza Strip, Palestinian medical and security officials say.

Adham Abu Selmiya, a spokesman for the Hamas-run medical services, named the farmer as Shaaban al-Qarmoot, and said his body has been transferred to the nearby Kamal Adwan hospital.

He said the man had died after being hit by a tank shell and gunfire on Monday.

A spokesman for the Israeli army told the AFP news agency that he was "not familiar with this incident at all".

The incident occurred near the town of Beit Hanoun, which is very close to a border crossing with Israel.

The incident came hours after Israeli fighter jets launched two overnight air raids on the Gaza Strip in response to rocket and mortar fire from the Hamas-controlled territory.

Violence has flared in the region in recent weeks, with a string of rocket and mortar attacks into Israel and air raids against Palestinian targets. Both sides say they have been acting in retaliation.

The incidents have raised the prospect of another large-scale invasion of Gaza, similar to the war that took place two years ago.

Gaza's Hamas rulers have announced publicly they want to avoid another invasion and said on Sunday they were holding talks with militant groups to coordinate military activity and "spare our people new aggression" from Israel.

Source: Agencies