Two Israeli soldiers wounded by gunfire from Egypt: army

Jerusalem (AFP) - Two Israeli soldiers were wounded on Wednesday when unidentified gunmen in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula fired shots and an anti-tank missile at their vehicle near the border, the army said.

The incident took place along a section of the border which lies some 60 kilometres (40 miles) south of the Gaza Strip, army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner said.

"About 2:00 pm (1100 GMT), we had shots and an anti-tank missile fired at a vehicle that was on the border," Lerner told reporters, saying that two soldiers who were patrolling had sustained light-to-medium injuries.

The army said a female officer and a male soldier had been injured in the incident, both of whom are members of the predominantly female Caracal battalion, which is responsible for defending the Israel-Egypt border.

An army spokeswoman had earlier told AFP both soldiers were women.

Lerner said it was not immediately clear who had carried out the attack, which took place near the border community of Ezuz, and that searches were under way to ensure that none of the gunmen had managed to cross the border into Israel.

"IDF (Israel Defence Forces) is currently trying to gather intelligence to determine who carried out this activity."

Egyptian security officials confirmed that gunmen had opened fire on the Israeli patrol from the border area, saying they believed the attack was carried out by assailants who had earlier clashed with Egyptian soldiers.

The Sinai Peninsula has seen a significant increase in attacks by militants targeting Egyptian security forces and the Israeli border after the army overthrew Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July last year.