Palestinian and Israeli officials say Israeli troops have killed four Palestinian militants who tried to cross into Israel from the Gaza Strip with horses carrying explosives.

An Israeli military spokesman said militants were trying to plant explosives along the border fence early Monday when Israeli troops opened fire, prompting a gunbattle.

Palestinian officials said around 10 gunmen were involved in the incident, and several were wounded in the fighting.

The Israeli spokesman said the group had five horses laden with explosives. It was not clear whether they intended to use the animals as weapons or transportation.

The clash took place near the Nahal Oz border crossing, which is used to ship fuel into the Gaza Strip.

No Israeli soldiers were reported injured.

Clashes along the border between Israel and Gaza have been infrequent since Israel ended its three-week offensive against the Islamist group Hamas in January. 

Hamas seized control of the coastal territory in 2007.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters