Three Israeli soldiers were killed in a terror attack along the Egyptian border on Saturday morning. An Egyptian police officer crossed the border, killed two soldiers, and in a subsequent shootout, killed a third soldier.
The attack took place in the southern border area near Mount Harif and Mount Sagi, where a drug smuggling attempt had been foiled several hours earlier.
According to the Israel Defense Forces, two soldiers, identified as Sgt. Lia Ben Nun and Staff Sgt. Uri Iluz, were last heard from at 6:00 AM, reporting that they heard a shooting which they were going to investigate. Their bodies were found at 9:00 AM by an aerial drone.
Soldiers found the terrorist at noon and engaged him in a shootout. A third soldier, identified as Staff Sgt. Ohad Dahan, was killed and another soldier was injured. The Egyptian was also killed.
All three soldiers served in the Bardelas (Cheetah) Battalion, a mixed-gender battalion.
Israeli investigators believe the Egyptian crossed the border through an emergency gate used by Israeli soldiers in coordination with Egypt.
According to officials in Cairo, the police officer claimed he was crossing the border to chase the drug smugglers.
Defense Minister Yoav Galant and the Egyptian Defense Minister, Major General Muhammad Ahmed Zaki, spoke on Saturday evening. The two agreed to cooperate in investigating the attack.
A number of serious concerns were raised regarding Saturday’s incident, and one of those is how long it took for commanders in the field to discover what had happened to the two soldiers who first went to check on the border disturbance.
It was hours before they were found dead.
Had it been an abduction of Israeli soldiers, they would have been deep into enemy territory before the IDF had a chance to respond.
The early hours of the border incident highlighted the care that must be taken when turning to the media for updates.
In particular Arab media, which was reporting all kinds of wild claims, such as Israeli jets bombing targets deep inside Egyptian territory.
Israel’s military censor can often be very strict and restrictive, but works to makes sure that it only releases information when all facts are known and in a way that home harm ongoing operations.
With reporting by TPS
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