An Islamic terrorist group based in the Sinai has claimed responsibility for an attack that killed an Israeli soldier, saying it was in response to an anti-Muslim film.
The group Ansar Jerusalem, also identified as Ansar Bayt al-Maqdes or "supporters of the holy place," which has previously taken responsibility for blowing up an Egyptian gas pipeline to Israel and for rocket attacks on Israel, on Sunday claimed responsibility for the Sept. 21 attack on Israel Defense Forces troops patrolling the border with Egypt. Some Israeli media reports said that the patrol had stopped to give food and water to African migrants trying to cross the border into Israel.
One soldier was killed and another injured in the attack by the three terrorists who, according to the group, had infiltrated over the Israeli border the previous day and waited for an opportunity to strike.
The group said in its statement in a Jihadi internet site that the attack was "to discipline those insulting the beloved Prophet," referring to the controversial "Innocence of Muslims" movie, which portrays the Islamic Prophet Muhammad as a fraud, whose 14-minute trailer dubbed into Arabic and released on YouTube more than a week ago sparked ongoing riots that have left more than 20 people dead, including four American diplomats.
The group also threatened to carry out another operation in revenge for the killing of one of its members in Sinai, which it charges was undertaken with the help of Israel.
The attackers were armed with an AK-47 assault rifle, an explosive belt which detonated in a shootout with Israeli troops, three rocket-propelled grenades and a machine gun, according to the IDF, signifying that they intended to carry out a large terror attack.
"The IDF stopped a very big terrorist attack," IDF spokesman Brig.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai said.
The dead soldier was identified as Cpl. Netanel Yahalomi, 20, of Nof Ayalon. All three of the terrorists were killed by Israeli troops following the attack.
The incident reportedly occurred near the Har Charif bulge, some 30 miles southwest of Mitzpe Ramon.
Last month, an Israel Air Force aircraft fired a missile on an armored personnel carrier that a team of terrorists had stolen from an Egyptian army base and driven across the border. The terrorists killed 16 Egyptian troops in the takeover. In June, terrorists launched an anti-tank missile at a convoy of construction workers building the border fence along the Israel-Egypt frontier. One Israeli civilian and two terrorists were killed in the attack.
During the past few months, terrorists in Sinai launched rockets at Eilat and the border region on a number of occasions, but no Israelis were injured.