A senior official with the international peacekeeping force in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula said suspected Islamic militants stormed their base near the Gaza-Israel border, wounding four officers.
Dozens of Bedouin gunmen broke into the base Friday, set fire to tires and vehicles and clashed with the forces inside.
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The official said it appears the attack is connected with wider protests in the Muslim world over an anti-Islam film produced in the US. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.
Assailants breached base fence
The base houses around 1,500 multinational troops, part of a force put in place under the 1979 peace accord between Egypt and Israel. It is located about ten kilometers from the Israeli border, south of the town of Sheikh Zowaiid.
Attempted terror attack
The assailants arrived at the base around 4 pm and used a truck to ram its fence until they managed to breach it. They wielded flags and shouted slogans indicating they belong to the global jihad and Salafi movements. They torched tires around the base and blocked the roads around it. They called "death to the Americans" and denounced the anti-Islam film.
The militants entered the compound by foot, but were surrounded and ejected by Colombian and Fijian troops belonging to the multinational corps. Meanwhile, another group, which evidently remained outside the compound, threw grenades over the fence, injuring two soldiers belonging to the Colombian unit.
At this point Egyptian army troops arrived at the base and assisted the peacekeeping forces in dealing with the infringers and restoring the quiet.
Such incidents are not new to the base, which has been previously targeted by Bedouins demanding the release of prisoners. The past attacks have ended with compromises, and no injuries were reported.
The attack appeared to be an attempt by one of the Salafi groups in Sinai to carry out a grand-scale terror attack, but was aborted in the last minute due to fears of retaliation from the Egyptian army, Ynet analyst Ron Ben-Yishai said.
Unrest sparked by the offensive film, which denigrated the Muslim prophet Muhammed, spread across the Arab world on Friday, with protesters breaking into the US embassies in Tunisia as well as the US and German embassies in Sudan.
Egypt's new Islamist president went on national TV and appealed to Muslims to not attack embassies, denouncing the violence earlier this week in Libya that killed four Americans, including the US ambassador.
Mohammed Morsi's first public move to restrain protesters after days of near silence appeared aimed at repairing strains with the United States over this week's violence.
Roi Kais contributed to the report AP contributed to the report
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