JERUSALEM — Attackers from the Egyptian side of the border fired an anti-tank missile and gunshots at an Israeli military vehicle on Wednesday, wounding two soldiers in a rare cross-border incident, the military said.
The attack occurred in southern Negev Desert and the soldiers were evacuated to a hospital in Israel, the military said.
An Egyptian security official suggested the gunfire came from smugglers who were clashing with Egyptian troops at the time along the border with Israel.
The frontier between Israel and Egypt is normally quiet. The two countries signed a peace accord 35 years ago and have close security cooperation.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for Wednesday's attack but Islamic militants in Egypt's lawless Sinai Peninsula have attempted to carry out attacks against Israel in recent years. In September 2012, an Israeli soldier was killed in a similar shooting. A year earlier, a series of coordinated attacks killed seven Israelis.
Al-Qaida-linked militants in Sinai have also carried out deadly attacks against the Egyptian military, which has been trying to crack down on their activity in the desert.
The Israeli military said it has no indication yet who was behind the attack. It said that it dispatched troops to the area to make sure that no infiltration into its territory took place. In the meantime, it asked residents in the area to remain in their homes.
Israeli media said the two — a female officer and a male soldier — were moderately wounded.
The Egyptian security official said the attack on the Israeli convoy came during an exchange of fire between Egyptian troops engaging smugglers in the area while an Israeli convoy was driving by.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to media, said the Egyptian troops fired at the smugglers approaching the border and suggested the fire on the Israeli troops came from the smugglers.
The area is known to be an operation area for smugglers, but not considered an area where militants have access, he added.
Associated Press writer Ashraf Sweilam contributed to this report from el-Arish, Egypt.