Israeli military says gunman kills 2 soldiers along Egyptian border


JERUSALEM (AP) — A shootout in southern Israel along the Egyptian border killed two Israeli soldiers Saturday, the army said, in a rare instance of deadly violence along the frontier.

The military said an assailant was in Israeli territory when he opened fire at troops. The soldiers returned fire, killing the gunman.

The army said one of the killed soldiers was a woman. It gave no details on the assailant.

Criminals sometimes smuggle drugs across the border, while Islamic militant groups are also active in Egypt’s restive north Sinai.

Israel and Egypt signed a peace agreement in 1979 and maintain close security ties. Fighting along their shared border is rare.

The exchange of fire reportedly took place around the Nitzana border crossing between Israel and Egypt. The crossing is located about 40 kilometers (25 miles) southeast of the point where Israel’s border with Egypt and the Gaza Strip converge. It's used to import goods from Egypt destined for Israel or the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

Israel built a fence along the porous border a decade ago to halt the entry of African migrants and Islamic militants who are active in Egypt’s Sinai desert.