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Slain Palestinians were heavily armed

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Four Palestinians believed to be planting explosives along the security fence in Gaza were heavily armed, Israel’s army said. 

Israeli troops fired on and killed the men Tuesday morning. Initial reports had said one of the suspected terrorists was killed and three injured.

No Israeli soldiers were injured in the incident.

Israel’s military found explosives, assault rifles, hand grenades and other weaponry on the bodies, according to an Israel Defense Forces statement released Tuesday evening.

Islamic Jihad said in a statement that it had sent the men to attack Israeli forces at the border, The New York Times reported.

"The presence of Palestinian civilians in the area adjacent to the security fence in Gaza is used by terrorist organizations as cover for their activities, including planting explosive devices, planning terrorist attacks and attempts to kidnap IDF soldiers. For this reason, the IDF considers this a combat zone," the IDF statement read.

On Sunday, Hamas prevented members of Islamic Jihad from firing rockets into Israel from northern Gaza, according to the Times.