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Israeli soldier dies in clash with militants at Egyptian border

September 21, 2012 |  7:53 am

Israel attack
JERUSALEM – Well-armed militants from the Sinai Desert infiltrated Israel on Friday and attacked a military outpost, killing one Israeli soldier and wounding another. The three unidentified attackers were then killed by Israeli soldiers.

It was the most serious clash along the Israeli-Egyptian border since early August, when militants in Egypt attacked an Egyptian police station near the border and used stolen vehicles to break through an Israeli border fence. Sixteen Egyptian soldiers were killed in that attack.

At about noon on Friday, the three militants broke through a part of the Egyptian-Israeli border near Mt. Arif, where Israel has not finished constructing the border fence.

“They came across very well-equipped, with explosive belts and light arms,’’ said Israeli military spokesman Capt. Eytan Buchman.

It remained unclear whether the Israeli soldiers were wounded by gunfire or the detonation of one of the explosives belts worn by one attacker, he said. The attack lasted less than 30 minutes.

Border clashes have become more frequent over the last year, particularly since the collapse of the Mubarak regime, which had been a close ally of Israel.

Newly elected Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has vowed to crack down against militants in the Sinai Peninsula, launching an offensive over the last two months to capture those responsible for the August strike.


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-- Edmund Sanders

Photo: An injured Israeli soldier is wheeled into Soroka hospital in the southern town of Beersheba, Israel, on Friday following an exchange of fire with militants along Israel's border with Egypt. An Israeli soldier was killed in the attack. Credit: Yehuda Lahiyani / Associated Press