Two Israeli troops patrolling the Egyptian border were injured on Wednesday in the early afternoon after an anti-tank missile was allegedly fired from the Sinai Peninsula at an Israeli border patrol vehicle.
There were conflicting reports about the nature of the incident with Egyptian sources initially attributing it to smugglers. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) later announced that an “anti-tank missile was fired at a vehicle on the Israeli-Egyptian border”.
An Egyptian security source had earlier told the Daily News Egypt that the incident occurred south of Al-Awja border crossing. He said there had been an exchange of fire between smugglers and Egyptian security forces and that some bullets fired by the smugglers crossed into the Israeli side of the border, leaving two soldiers injured.
The two injured soldiers, one male and one female, were taken to a hospital on the Israeli side of the border for treatment. The IDF said on Twitter: “The injured soldiers serve in the Caracal Battalion, which is responsible for defending the Israel-Egypt border.”
The IDF said the injuries were medium to mild and added that it is sending forces to “determine if there was an infiltration into Israel”.
Egyptian security forces did not say what type of smugglers where involved in the incident. The Egypt-Israel border area however has been a known route for human trafficking.
Ever since the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, there has been a rise in militancy, particularly in North Sinai. Egyptian security forces have largely been the target of this insurgency, with repeated attacks being carried out targeting checkpoints and security facilities.
In 2013, the Egyptian military has launched what it dubbed as the “biggest military operation to cleanse Sinai of terrorism”. The military continues to carry out security operations in the turbulent region.