The Egyptian government confirmed Saturday that three militants crossed from Egypt into Israel where they attacked Israeli soldiers. The men killed an Israeli soldier and injured another with an explosion. All three militants were killed. Their bodies are being transferred to a hospital in Arish.
The Egyptian State Information Service reported that security agencies on the border were reviewing the security forces in light of the attack. They also reported that these agencies are engaging in dialogue with local communities to learn the identity of the attackers and understand how they could have made it across the border.
Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper reported that headshots of the attackers are being shown to tribal leaders for identification, but so far there has been no progress.
The attack occurred across the border from the Taba-Rafah road in the Sinai. The incident comes despite an increased military presence in the Sinai.
Even before the attack, Egypt’s ability to control militants in the Sinai was being questioned by some in Israel, which caused presidential spokesman Yasser Ali to state that Egyptian sovereignty over the Sinai is total and non-negotiable.
Israeli Defence Forces claimed they “prevented a large-scale attack on Israeli civilians.” They cite the type of weapons and number of bullets carried as evidence that the militants planned to do more than just attack the soldiers.
Israel is building a fence that will stretch the length of its border with Israel. The fence is intended to serve the dual purpose of keeping out African migrants and also militants. The Israeli unit that was attacked was near a section of the fence that is not yet built.