An Islamist militant group said it launched a deadly cross-border attack on Israel from Egypt's Sinai in protest at a US-made film mocking Islam, SITE Intelligence Group reported on Sunday.
Ansar Bait al-Maqdis (Partisans of Jerusalem) termed the attack a "Disciplinary Invasion Against those who Dared Against the Beloved Prophet," the US-based monitoring agency said, citing a statement posted on Islamist websites. "As the defence of the honour 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 statement read.
The Israeli army said troops came under fire from gunmen who sneaked across the border with Egypt's Sinai peninsula on Friday, sparking a firefight which killed the three attackers. An Israeli soldier was also killed and a second wounded.
Israel has accused Gaza-based militants of using the Sinai as a launchpad for cross-border attacks and demanded that Egypt crack down on Islamist elements in the lawless peninsula.
Ansar Bait al-Maqdis also claimed responsibility for firing two rockets in mid-August at the Israeli Red Sea resort of Eilat, near the border with Egypt.