Islamists Kill 15 Egyptians on Israeli Border
Israel strikes back with aerial assault
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 5, 2012 5:55 PM CDT
An Israeli military helicopter.   (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

(Newser) – Islamists gunned down at least 15 Egyptian police officers and stole an army tank today in an attack on a Sinai police station close to the Israeli border, Reuters reports. Israeli aircraft responded by destroying a vehicle used by the attackers; another of their vehicles exploded at the North Sinai crossing, the BBC reports. It was the deadliest attack in the region in at least 20 years.

Israeli officials and Egyptian media blamed the attack on Islamist militants, a notion dismissed by Hamas in Gaza, AFP reports. The incident will likely force Israel and Egypt to engage diplomatically at a delicate time, when Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi, an Islamist, has just taken power. It could also strain Egypt's relations with Hamas if Palestinian gunmen are held responsible for the attack.