An uneasy security agreement between Israel and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is being put to the test.

Israeli troops on Saturday blasted their way into the homes of three wanted Palestinians. Each was killed in a hail of bullets.

Israel's military says the three were targeted for killing an Israeli settler in a roadside ambush earlier in the week. And it says they had turned down a chance to surrender.

Also on Saturday, three young men who were approaching Israel's southern border in the Gaza Strip were killed by shots from an Israeli helicopter gunship.

The deaths made it one of the deadliest days in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since Israel waged war on the Hamas rulers of Gaza a year ago.