Gunfire from Israeli forces has killed a Palestinian boy in the besieged Gaza Strip, local medics have said, during border clashes between the Israeli army and Palestinian fighters.

The Popular Resistance Committees said its fighters had confronted an Israeli force of four tanks and a bulldozer involved in a short-range incursion beyond Israel's border fence with the Gaza Strip.

"Terrorists opened fire at IDF soldiers while they were performing routine activity adjacent to the security fence," an Israeli military spokeswoman said in Jerusalem.

An Israeli military official said the soldiers responded by firing at "suspicious locations".

Ashraf al-Qudra, spokesman for Gaza's health ministry, said the boy had been killed near the border.

"Thirteen-year-old Hmeid Yunes Abu Daqqa was killed by bullets fired from an Israeli helicopter during an incursion in Abasan and Al-Qarara," he said, referring to two neighbourhoods east of Khan Yunis.

Witnesses confirmed that Israeli helicopters had opened fire as Israeli tanks carried out an incursion east of the city.

Palestinian gunmen fired mortar shells at the tanks, sparking a brief exchange of fire, they said.

The incident broke nearly two weeks of a lull in violence between Gaza gunmen and Israeli forces since the last wave of fighting that killed several fighters, mostly from Hamas.

Source: Agencies