GAZA, (Reuters) – Israeli soldiers shot and killed two Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip as they approached the border fence on Saturday, a Palestinian militant group said.
An Israeli army spokeswoman said soldiers opened fire on two militants near the northern Gaza town of Beit Lahiya. “They were planting an explosive device near the fence,” she said.
Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, an arm of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction, said two of its militants were killed while trying to fire mortars into Israel.
Israeli troops often shoot at Palestinians who approach the Gaza border with Israel to try to prevent armed infiltrations.
Israel also conducts raids in the area to try to stop militants launching rockets into Israel.
Abbas lost control of Gaza last month when Hamas Islamists routed his forces after weeks of factional fighting.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert appeared last week to rule out a major military incursion into the coastal strip for now amid a flurry of diplomatic activity aimed at resuming long-stalled peace talks.