An Israeli soldier died today in a shootout that also killed three Islamic militants attempting to infiltrate the country from Egypt with an eye toward carrying out a terror attack in the Jewish state, the Israeli military said. The attack highlighted the growing threat of violence along Israel's border with the Sinai Peninsula, which has become increasingly lawless and dangerous in recent years as al-Qaeda-inspired groups have taken hold in the vast desert.
The militants were wearing explosive belts when they opened fire on troops guarding a team of workers building a border fence between Israel and Sinai, said a military spokeswoman. But Egyptian intelligence officials said the attackers had crossed the border and that one of the three militants blew himself up inside Israel. Regardless of the details, the attack comes six weeks after Islamist gunmen brazenly killed 16 Egyptian soldiers before smashing through a fence into Israel.