At least 20 people have been killed in a series of incidents in southern Israel and Gaza.

In the first attack, seven Israelis died when a bus, a military vehicle and a civilian car were targeted in co-ordinated attacks on desert roads leading to the southern Israeli Red Sea resort town of Eilat.

The Israeli army said two attacks had taken place on route 12, a road close to the Egyptian border.

In the first incident, gunmen opened fire a bus. Minutes later, an improvised explosive device detonated beneath a military vehicle.

Security sources told AFP of a third incident on another desert road near the Jordanian border, in which an RPG was fired at a car near Beer Ora, some 15km north of Eilat.

It was later confirmed that seven Palestinians were shot and killed in the area after the attacks.

Israel said 'at least six terrorists had been killed' by troops who engaged in running gunbattles with the attackers and said they were 'trying to verify the death of a seventh.'

Israeli media later quated military sources who confirmed the death toll of seven.

And this evening six people were killed in an Israeli airstrike on a house in the town of Rafah in Gaza.

The Palestinian Popular Resistance Committees - which operates independently from Hamas - confirmed that five of its members were killed in the airstrike.

The sixth fatality was a nine year old boy who was in the house at the time.