Last Updated: Sun Sep 23, 2012 12:59 pm (KSA) 09:59 am (GMT)

Jihadist group claims deadly Egypt-Israeli border attack

Supporters and members of hardline Islamist group of Ansar al-Sharia shout slogans as they wave al-Qaeda affiliated flags during a demonstration against a film mocking Islam in Benghazi, Libya. (AFP)
Supporters and members of hardline Islamist group of Ansar al-Sharia shout slogans as they wave al-Qaeda affiliated flags during a demonstration against a film mocking Islam in Benghazi, Libya. (AFP)

An Islamist militant group based in Sinai, Egypt, claimed on Sunday a deadly cross-border attack that killed an Israeli soldier in the restive peninsula where jihadi groups have gained a foothold.

Three gunmen were also killed in Friday’s attack, which Ansar Bait al-Maqdis (Partisans of Jerusalem) termed as a “Disciplinary Invasion Against those who Dared Against the Beloved Prophet,” SITE Intelligence Group reported.

“As the defense of the honor of the Messenger of Allah is one of our duties and responsibilities, your brothers ... carried their weapons and became determined to discipline the Jews for their heinous acts,” the U.S.-based monitoring agency said, citing a statement posted on Islamist websites.

There have been at least four such cross-border raids in just over a year in the area where security lapsed after the uprising that overthrew Hosni Mubarak last year.

Egypt’s army and police launched a security sweep after a raid that killed 16 Egyptian border guards in August.

The group accused Jews of involvement in the film, but did not explain how. Though the film was made in the United States, Israel is often viewed by militants as a proxy agent for U.S. policy in the region because it is a close ally of Washington.

CNN reported that Jewish groups denied some reported allegations that there was any Jewish backing for the film.

The U.S. government has condemned the film and said it had no role in it, but said it could not act against the production because of its commitment to freedom of expression.

Many Muslims view any portrayal of the Prophet as blasphemous.

Ansar Bayt al-Maqdes, which means “supporters of the holy place,” a reference to Jerusalem, pledged to carry out another operation, at an unspecified time, in revenge for what it said was the killing of a member in Sinai with the help of Israel.

It was not immediately clear what help it believed Israel had given in the death of Ibrahim Oweidah. Egyptian authorities had said his death in September was due to a landmine accident.

The group has previously claimed an attack on a pipeline delivering gas to Israel and rocket attacks targeting Israel.

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