JERUSALEM, (Reuters) – Israeli soldiers killed two gunmen dressed as Egyptian army officers who attacked them on Israel’s border with Egypt on Friday, an Israeli military spokeswoman said.
The gunmen were part of a three-person squad that stormed across the frontier at dawn near Israel’s Mount Saguy, opposite the Egyptian border town of Bir el-Ma’in, Lieutenant Michal Luft said. The third gunman fled back over the border, she said.
“The gunmen killed in the clash were in Egyptian military uniforms with officer ranks, which is rare as Egyptian army officers do not generally come to this area,” Luft said. She declined to speculate on the identity of the gunmen.
An Egyptian Interior Ministry spokesman said he heard of a clash at Israel’s border between three men coming from Egypt and the Israeli military, but said he had not heard they were wearing Egyptian army uniforms. He declined to comment further.
Egypt was the first Arab state to sign a peace deal with Israel, in 1978, and their desert border is largely unfenced.
The frontier sees regular smuggling and occasional attempts by Palestinian militants from the coastal Gaza Strip to cross into the Egyptian Sinai and from there infiltrate into Israel.
Friday’s incident took place 100 km (63 miles) from Gaza, a distance unusual for Palestinian infiltrations, Luft said.
Israeli troops killed an Egyptian smuggler in a border clash on Tuesday.