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Egyptian Border Guards Killed, Gunmen Unknown

Fears of violence in Libya spilling over into Egypt are increasing after unidentified gunmen kill 22 Egyptian border guards.

At least 22 Egyptian border guards are dead after an attack on the Libyan border on Saturday night. 

The attack reportedly came at a military checkpoint in a southwestern region of Egypt known as the New Valley Governorate, which borders Libya and Sudan.  

"Security sources say attackers opened fire using grenade launchers and heavy machine guns. An army spokesperson suggested they were Islamist militants." (Via BBC)

But, who's to blame for the attacks is still unclear. ITV points out, "Security officials said the attackers were smugglers but an army spokesman said the assailants were 'terrorists'."

Regardless of who was behind the attack, as state newspaper Al-Ahram points out, it's the worst attack the Egyptian military has suffered since last August when 25 Egyptian soldiers were killed on the other side of the country near Sinai. 

This is the second incident of violence on Egypt's border with Libya this summer. 

​At the start of June, six border guards were also killed on the Libyan border, and a Sinai-based militant group claimed responsibility, according to Daily News Egypt.

It's been two years since Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi was deposed in a popular uprising that has since given way to sectarian violence. (Via Getty Images)

That fighting, between tribes still loyal to Gaddafi and those in opposition, has prompted fears that the violence would spread into neighboring Egypt. (Via Euronews)

It's been a popular warning among Egyptian politicians as  Voice of America reports, "Egyptian officials repeatedly have warned that violence plaguing Libya could spill over into Egypt."

As the BBC points out, the other attack on the border in June wasn't by the sectarian fighters who have ravaged Libya, but instead smugglers who were trying to get weapons to militants in Sinai. 

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