The dead men were identified as Khader Aokal, 22, a fighter from the Popular Resistance Committees, and Mohammed Saker, 22, from the DFLP.

A spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees in Gaza said that the fighters had intended to enter the Israeli community of Netiv Haasara, north of the Gaza frontier fence.

The two groups, along with a third, have also claimed responsibility for an attack in the northern Gaza Strip on Friday during which two Palestinian fighters were killed by Israeli troops.

An Israeli army spokesman said the men used a ladder to scale the fence and a rope to lower themselves to the ground before making their way to the Israeli military's co-ordination office.

Deadly clashes

In a separate operation in the West Bank city of Jenin, Israeli forces killed the local leader of the Islamic Jihad group, Palestinian security sources said.

The Israeli army have increased raids in the
West Bank and Gaza in recent weeks [AFP]

They said that another Islamic Jihad fighter was wounded on Saturday in a raid by undercover Israeli soldiers.

An Israeli military spokeswoman in Tel Aviv said soldiers and paramilitary border police had fired at a vehicle in which three fighters were travelling.

"A special forces unit operating in Jenin spotted three armed men in a car and  opened fire at them," she said.
  
"The three occupants of the vehicle were hit. They were in possession of two assault rifles - a Kalashnikov and an M16 - and ammunition".

Boy shot dead

The killings at the Erez border crossing and in Jenin occurred a day after an Arab-Israeli boy and a Palestinian fighter were shot dead during an exchange of fire between Israeli security forces and Islamic Jihad fighters in the West Bank.
 
Mahmoud Karnawi, 13, was visiting a relative, an Islamic Jihad fighter, in Seida near Tulkarem on Friday when Israeli forces encircled the house they were in, sources said.

Neighbours said he was hit in the crossfire.

Tariq Mulhem, another 24-year-old Islamic Jihad fighter, was killed and Karnawi's relative arrested.

An army spokeswoman said Israeli forces found two Kalashnikov rifles, military vests and ammunition during the operation.