In what is believed to be Israel's first drone strike in Egypt's borders, Israeli Air Force drones fired missiles on Egypt's Sinai peninsula Friday, killing at least five people, Egyptian authorities report.
Israel reportedly collaborated with Egyptian military and intelligence on the attack, as Egyptian military and police forces escalate deadly attacks in the Sinai.
Egyptian officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, claimed that the people killed were suspected militants, but these reports could not be verified.
Israel's military has so far refused to acknowledge the attack, though one anonymous Israeli source told Haaretz, "We are aware of increased activity of the Egyptian military against terrorism across Sinai."
The bombings follow a statement earlier this week from Egyptian military spokesman Ahmed Ali that, since July 5, the military and police have 'cracked down' on alleged "terrorists and jihadists" in Sinai, leaving at least 124 people dead or injured and destroying at least 102 tunnels connecting Egypt to Gaza.
The Egyptian military attacks accompany an aggressive Israeli military buildup. Last month, the Israeli government announced it had installed rocket launchers and military helicopters in the Sinai Peninsula, in keeping with what Israel says is allowed by its peace treaty with Egypt.
Critics charge that unfounded claims of terrorist targets have long been used by the Israeli and Egyptian governments to justify military buildup in the Sinai Peninsula and impose collective punishment on nearby Gaza.
The Israeli government has heavily lobbied the U.S. to continue military aid to Egypt, despite U.S. laws prohibiting aid for military coups.