The ensuing fire exchange left two suspects dead. No injuries were reported among the Israeli soldiers. It is still unclear whether in incident was criminal or terrorist in nature.
According to available details, at around 1:30 pm IDF forces deployed in the sector identified two men driving ATVs at high speed towards the border from the Sinai area. Two other suspects were simultaneously spotted approaching the fence.
The soldiers initiated suspect arrest protocol vis-à-vis the four, and when their warnings were ignored, they fired several warning shots.
At the same time, a cell lying in wait on the Egyptian side of the border opened fire on the troops. The soldiers returned fire.
During the exchange, one of the ATV riders fled back to the Egyptian side of the border, crossing it under gunfire by Egyptian border guards.
An hour later, the soldiers reported hearing gunshot echoes emanating from the same area.
Egyptian reports said that two of the suspects were injured in the incident.
IDF sources said that forces in the sector were on high alert as the defense establishment has intelligence indicating an imminent threat of terror in the sector.
The incident took place in an area where the new border fence is still under construction.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu toured the area Tuesday, saying that "soon we will complete surrounding Israel with ground-level obstacles that will improve our ability to defend our borders."
The new fence will stretch 230km. IDF source said that the existing, upgraded fence, which stretches some 110km, has so far proven very effective in curbing infiltrations from Sinai to Israel.
Roi Kais contributed to this report
- Receive Ynetnews updates
directly to your desktop