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Following the death of Cpl. Netanel Yahalomi in a gunbattle on the Israel-Egypt border on Friday, Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Benny Gantz warned that the perimeter would continue to be a security problem for Israel.
Speaking at the site of Yahalomi’s death on Sunday, Gantz said that while “we are fighters who are protecting our borders,” the border with Sinai “will continue to challenge us.”
“An enormous effort has been made over the past two years to close off the border, and it will be closed off, but even once it’s closed, the threat will not stop,” Gantz said.
Yahalomi was killed at the Mount Harif border region in a firefight with a jihadist group calling itself Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis. The group claimed to have killed the Israeli soldier in response to the video “The Innocence of Muslims” made in the US by a private movie maker, mocking founder of Islam, Mohammed.
The group also claimed responsibility for an attack at Ein Netafim on the border, which killed eight Israelis in August 2011.
Initial reports indicate that the terrorists who fired on Yahalomi hid in an area near a group of African infiltrators attempting to breach the border to Israel. IDF investigators say Yahalomi’s force may have been attacked while a larger part of the unit went to get water for the illegal immigrants.
About the Author: Malkah Fleisher is a graduate of Cardozo Law School in New York City. She is an editor/staff writer at JewishPress.com and co-hosts a weekly Israeli FM radio show. Malkah lives with her husband and two children on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.
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