Israeli forces killed two Palestinian militants and wounded three in a clash along the Gaza-Israel border early Tuesday, a Gaza health official said.

Medical crews evacuated the bodies of two Palestinian men in military uniforms from the border in central Gaza, according to Dr. Moaiya Hassanain of Gaza's Health Ministry. Earlier, Palestinian witnesses reported hearing two explosions from the border area, after which Israeli helicopters hovered over the fence and fired at targets inside Gaza.

Three other militants were wounded, Hassanain said, two in the initial clash and a third in a subsequent Israeli missile strike.

Israeli security officials said troops spotted armed militants placing explosive devices along the fence and the air force targeted them. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the military had yet to release an official comment.

No Palestinian group immediately claimed the dead and wounded militants as its members. But Hamas sent a text message to reporters saying the group's fighters fired 18 mortar shells at the Israeli troops in the vicinity of the site of the clash.

There has been rocket fire and sporadic fighting along the Gaza-Israel border since Israel ended its offensive in the territory on Jan. 18.

The border has been relatively quiet in recent weeks.