News24

Man killed in Egypt, Israel border blast

2012-08-26 17:35

Cairo - Egyptian security officials and witnesses said a man was killed in an explosion near the border with Israel on Sunday, with some accounts saying he was trying to fire a rocket into Israel.

Witnesses said he was killed in an explosion as he tried to fire a rocket, and as an Israeli military drone hovered in the sky above its side of the border.

The man, Ibrahim Ouda Bereikat, had been detained briefly last week as part of a sweeping military crackdown in the Sinai Peninsula against Islamist militants, Bedouin sources said.

Security officials confirmed that a man was killed in an explosion near the border with Israel, but could not give a clear account of the circumstances.

They said he might have been killed by a landmine, or accidentally in "militant training exercises".

Authorities and security officials have been very reluctant to admit that militants used Egyptian territory to fire rockets into Israel, most recently on 15 August.

An Islamist militant group calling itself the Partisans of Jerusalem claimed responsibility for that attack, saying it fired two Grad rockets at the town of Eilat, the SITE Intelligence Group reported.

The Egyptian military launched an unprecedented campaign in the lawless peninsula after hardline Islamist militants killed 16 soldiers in an attack on a border outpost on 5 August.

The military build-up, which included tanks and helicopter gunships, is the largest since Israel withdrew from Sinai in a 1979 peace treaty that restricted the Egyptian military presence in the desert and mountain peninsula.