A military funeral is to be held Tuesday in Cairo for the soldiers killed in an attack on an army outpost in the border town of Rafah, dpa reproted
Egpyptian President Mohammed Morsi, who will attend the funeral, on Monday announced three days of national mourning for the 16 soldiers who were killed by gunmen in Bedouin attire on Sunday in the Sinai Peninsula near the border with Gaza.
The funeral, at a mosque in the eastern Cairo area of Nasr City, will follow noon prayers, and also be attended by senior army commanders, said the state-run newspaper Al Ahram.
Egypt has sealed off Sinai in the wake of the attack, and announced the indefinite closure of the Rafah border crossing - Gaza's only outlet to the outside world.
Morsi, who took office on June 30, promised a harsh response to the attack and said the military would bring Sinai under control.
Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood has also claimed that the Israeli intelligence service Mossad may be behind the attack. "This crime can be attributed to the Mossad, which has been seeking to abort the (Egyptian) revolution since it started," said the group in a statement.
Israel vehemently rejected the claim.
"This is not even an accusation. This is someone on automatic pilot just sending out their generic blasting of Israel. It's completely ridiculous," Foreign Ministry Spokesman Yigal Palmor said.
"It contradicts the Egyptian government's statements and it deserves no serious comment by anyone," he told dpa.
Al Ahram newspaper cited an unnamed security source as blaming the incident on a militant group led by a fugitive Palestinian, which the source said had attacked security buildings in Sinai in the past few months.
"This group, made up of around 500 people, comprises members from different Egyptian governorates and some Arab countries," said the source.
Over the past year, Islamist militants in Sinai are believed to have been responsible for several attacks on a gas pipeline that exports gas to Israel as well as raids on police stations.
Egypt has been trying in the past months to secure the peninsula as turmoil and soaring crime rates nationwide followed the ouster of president Hosny Mubarak in a popular revolt in February 2011.