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The Israel Defense Forces killed four Islamic Jihad militants near the Gaza Strip border early yesterday morning, after observing them placing bombs. Several other militants may have been hurt in the incident. The IDF sustained no casualties.

Around 4 A.M., IDF lookouts noticed six individuals approaching the border fence near Kissufim, in central Gaza, and a Givati brigade force, tanks and aircrafts were deployed. The individuals were then observed placing bombs on the ground near the fence. The troops opened fire, killing four of the militants, IDF sources said.

Later in the day, IDF troops entered the Palestinian territory to search the area, and found three bodies, which they determined belonged to Islamic Jihad militants. Military sources said another body had been taken to a nearby hospital. Hand grenades, rifles and bombs were found at the scene.

The troops came under fire during the search, but no casualties were reported.

No rockets or mortar shells were fired at Israel from Gaza yesterday.

The Gaza border has seen considerable escalation over the last month, with several organizations attempting to place bombs in the area. The Palestinians consider them a defensive measure, and they enjoy strong popular support in the strip. The Israelis, however, are concerned they could be used to target patrols on the other side of the fence.

Military sources said the Palestinians took similar measures before operation Cast Lead in 2008. About a week ago, the Hamas and several smaller factions announced they would stop firing rockets into Israel. In March, a Golani brigade officer and a soldier were killed in a border incident near Kissufim.