The Israeli military said Tuesday that it will punish three commanders for a rare strike on the Egyptian border earlier this month that resulted in the deaths of three Israeli troops and revealed a number of errors.
On June 3, an unnoticed Egyptian security guard entered Israeli territory and shot and murdered the three Israeli troops twice in the normally peaceful border region.
The Israeli military’s investigation into the incident revealed that “a few hours” had elapsed between the two shootings, raising concerns about how the Egyptian policeman managed to enter Israel, spend a sizable amount of time there without drawing attention to himself, and then launch an unexpected attack on a second guard post.
The security gate was left open, which allowed the Egyptian policeman to enter with ease, the Israeli military said on Tuesday.
It said that the military will instantly block off the southern border, increase the number of soldiers at lookouts, and shorten their hours.
It claimed that Israeli forces suffered from inadequate planning and personnel.
Currently, troops must maintain their alertness for 12 hours straight, even in the heat of the desert.
Maj. Gen. Eliezer Toledano, commander of Israel’s southern command, described the occurrence as “a serious incident with difficult operational consequences that could have been avoided.”
Two senior officers would get reprimands, according to the military, while a third officer would be sent to a new job.
A member of Egypt’s security forces had publicly presented a different account of what had happened, claiming that they had crossed the Israeli border in pursuit of drug traffickers and engaged Israeli soldiers in gunfire.
Since they have been at peace for more than 40 years, Israel and Egypt have worked closely to maintain international security, particularly in light of the emergence of an Islamic State offshoot in Egypt’s northern Sinai Peninsula.
It was the first lethal gunfight along the Israel-Egypt border in more than ten years.