AFP, JERUSALEM — Israeli border police killed a man and wounded another when the two tried to cross the Egyptian border into Israel, the army said on Friday, with a security source saying the two were unarmed Gazans.
“Overnight, Israeli border police identified two suspects infiltrating Israel through the Israel-Egypt border,” an army spokesman said.
“In accordance with the rules of engagement, the border police sought to stop the infiltration and fired at the suspects. Upon the arrival of Israeli army medics, one of the suspects was pronounced dead,” he said.
The second was taken to hospital.
The spokesman gave no details on the identity of the two men, but a security source told AFP they were unarmed residents of the Gaza Strip.
The military spokesman noted that “illegal infiltrations through the Egyptian border are used by terror organisations to execute terror attacks against Israeli civilians and security forces.”
He said the incident took place in the middle of Israel’s 240-kilometre (150-mile) border with the Egyptian Sinai.
Border security incidents have increased over the past year or so, with an increase of lawlessness following the overthrow of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.
Israel has accused Gaza-based militants of infiltrating its border with Egypt to perpetrate attacks such as one in August 2011 in which gunmen launched coordinated ambushes in southern Israel, killing eight.
Last month, at least three militants sneaked across the border and ambushed two cars carrying Israeli construction workers, killing one and sparking a firefight in which two of the gunmen died.
Israel has expedited work on a massive steel barrier along its border with Sinai in a bid to prevent the entry of African migrants, whose numbers in Israel are estimated at more than 60,000.