An Egyptian policeman shot and killed two Israeli soldiers guarding a guard post close to Israel’s southern border early on Saturday morning during a terrorist incident.
The shooter and another IDF soldier were killed, according to the IDF, in a subsequent exchange of fire in the region several hours later on Israeli soil.
The incidents occurred between Mount Sagi and Mount Harif in the Negev desert. The military looked into the facts, including how the shooter—an Egyptian policeman—could enter Israel from Egypt.
According to a statement from the Egyptian army, an officer in charge of border security allegedly pursued suspects involved in alleged narcotics smuggling.
It added that it wanted to express its “sincere condolences” to the victims’ families. “During the pursuit, he crossed the security barrier, and an exchange of fire began, in which three Israeli security personnel were killed,” it said.
The three soldiers’ deaths were kept a secret until the IDF informed their families.
Sgt. Lia Ben-Nun, 19, of the central city of Rishon Lezion, and Staff-Sgt. Uri Yitzchak Iluz of Tzfat were two of the soldiers killed in the initial onslaught—Staff Sgt. Ohad Dahan, 20, of the southern city of Ofakim, was identified as the soldier slain in the subsequent altercation with the shooter.
Ben-Nun and Dahan served as combat soldiers in the mixed-gender Bardelas Battalion, which guards the southern border.
The IDF’s Border Defense Corps, which is in charge of guarding Israel’s borders with Jordan, Egypt, and the West Bank security fence, consists of five mixed-gender infantry units.
The male and female soldiers started a security shift together late Friday at an army post near the border, according to IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari. According to the IDF’s preliminary inquiry, an officer arrived at the area early on Saturday morning and found the two dead after the soldiers failed to respond to radio calls.
As soldiers were conducting searches for the alleged attacker, the IDF reported hours later that there had been another round of gunfire near the initial attack.
A brief exchange of fire occurred recently during a confrontation with a terrorist on Israeli soil. According to an IDF statement, the suspect was confronted by troops and commanders, who then shot and killed him.
The IDF further reported that one soldier, later identified as Dahan, was killed during the struggle with the assailant, and a non-commissioned officer received minor injuries.
Hagari said the terrorist killed in the afternoon brawl was probably behind the fatal strike in the early morning hours.
The terrorist, according to the IDF, was an Egyptian policeman. The IDF said, “An investigation is being conducted in close and full cooperation with the Egyptian army.”
Since the signing of a peace agreement between the two countries in 1979, the gunfire and conflicts on the border seem to be among the most dangerous.
Troops were still searching the area for potential new attackers.
According to his office, on Saturday afternoon, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant met with Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, the head of the IDF, and other defense officials to examine the exchanges of fire.
According to the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he was continuously updated on the situation.
Since the two nations signed their first peace treaty with an Arab state in 1979, the Israel-Egypt border has been generally quiet.
Israel constructed a substantial border wall over the last ten years, mainly to keep out African immigrants and Islamic terrorists who operate out of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.
But there are systematic efforts to get drugs over Israel’s high border. Smugglers and IDF forces have engaged in several shooting incidents in recent years.
Additionally, the Egyptian army routinely fires across international borders when pursuing Islamist organizations and narcotics traffickers in the northern Sinai desert.