Israeli troops have killed a Palestinian who crossed in from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, saying he was a security threat though he proved to be unarmed, military sources said.

The man, who was not immediately identified, had first drawn soldiers' suspicions by digging into the ground on the Gazan side of the fortified border fence, an army spokeswoman said.

He then clambered over the fence, carrying an item that the troops could not see clearly, she said. They shot him dead on Saturday after he ignored their calls to turn back as well as warnings shots.

The army spokeswoman did not give further details on what the Palestinian was carrying. An Israeli military source said, however, that no weapons were found on him.

While the Gaza-Israel border has been a flash point of fighting, especially during flare-ups such as the November war in the besieged coastal enclave, such violence has abated recently.

In an effort to isolate the Hamas government, Israel controls commercial traffic across the border, contributing to economic hardship in Gaza.

Palestinians there have on occasion sought to slip into Israel for work.

Source: Reuters