IDF forces killed Gaza militants caught placing an explosive device on the border fence on the northern Gaza Strip Thursday morning.

According to the IDF Spokesman's Office, the squad was directly hit in a combined operation led by the Givati Brigade and an Armored Corps forces, part of the Iron Trails Brigade, and the Israel Air Force.

Palestinian health official Ashraf al-Kidra told AP that three men were killed. Gaza farmers at the scene indicated that the men wore military fatigues.

Israel said it held Hamas responsible for the attacks.

In a statement, the IDF Spokesperson reported that it refuses to tolerate any attempt to harm Israeli civilians and that its soldiers will continue to operate against any terrorist threat.   

Earlier on Thursday, the Air Force killed three Gaza militants and wounded one after the four had reportedly attempted to fire a rocket into Israel.

Last July, an IDF soldier was mildly injured by shrapnel when a device planted near his tank in the southern Gaza Strip exploded.