A 7-year-old boy was killed and two other children were wounded Tuesday in an exchange of fire between Hamas militants and Israel Defense Forces troops in the central Gaza town of Deir el-Balah, Palestinian medics said.

Palestinian security officials said IDF troops seized control over a house in town and came under heavy fire from Hamas. The troops shot back and the children were apparently caught in the crossfire, the officials said.

The IDF said a small group of soldiers operating just inside the strip came under attack and returned fire, hitting at least one Palestinian gunman. A military spokeswoman said there had been no notification from Palestinian officials of any child casualties, and she was also not aware that troops had occupied any building.

Soldiers seeking to stop Palestinian rocket fire from Gaza into Israel regularly clash with militants.

Earlier Tuesday, IDF troops killed an armed Palestinian militant along the security fence on the border with the central Gaza Strip in the early morning hours.

Military sources said the militant opened fire on infantry troops who were patrolling the area. The troops charged the militant and opened fire, killing him.

The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine said the militant was a member of the group, adding that he was shot as he tried to plant an explosive device along the border.

Meanwhile Tuesday, a Qassam rocket hit the western Negev, Israel Radio reported, causing no damage or injuries. A mortar shell also hit southern Israel, Army Radio reported, causing extensive damage to a chicken coop.

Later, two Qassam rockets hit the industrial zone in the western Negev town of Sderot, causing no injuries.