In one of the most serious events to take place since the signing of the 1979 peace treaty between Israel and Egypt, three Israeli soldiers — one of whom was female — were shot and killed in a terror attack by an Egyptian terrorist.
A spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces confirmed that the terrorist was an Egyptian police officer.
The two soldiers killed in the initial attack have been identified as 19-year-old Sgt. Lia Ben Nun of Rishon Lezion and 20-year-old Ori Yitzhak Iluz of Tzefat.
A few hours later, also within Israeli territory, a third IDF soldier was shot and killed in an exchange of gunfire with a terrorist who was later identified as an Egyptian police officer.
The soldier who was killed in the second attack was named as 20-year-old Staff Sgt. Ohad Dahan of Ofakim.
All three were members of the Bardelas Battalion.
IDF Confirms Attacker was Egyptian Police Officer
“In the early hours of the morning, an IDF soldier and a female soldier were killed by terrorist gunfire while they were securing a military position in the Faran Brigade area on the Egyptian border,” the IDF spokesperson said.
“After that, additional forces arrived at the sector and carried out searches in the area.
“In the afternoon during the scans, the force identified the same terrorist in Israeli territory and an exchange of fire developed between him and the force. The fighters and commanders strived for contact, shot and killed the terrorist. During the exchange of fire, an IDF soldier was killed and another was slightly wounded.
“The terrorist is an Egyptian policeman,” the IDF spokesperson confirmed. “An investigation is underway in close and full cooperation with the Egyptian army.
“The incident is being investigated in the field by the commander of the Southern Command, Major General Eliezer Toledano, the commander of the 80th Division, Lieutenant Colonel Itzik Cohen and other commanders.
“IDF forces continue to search the area in order to rule out the presence of additional terrorists.”
Egyptian Terrorist May Have Entered Via Emergency Gate
The first two Israeli soldiers were found shot to death at around 9 am after phone contact failed.
An initial investigation found that neither soldier returned fire. Their weapons were found next to their bodies.
The IDF told Israeli media it is believed the Egyptian police officer who killed the soldiers infiltrated into Israeli territory through a small emergency gate used by the Israel Defense Forces to cross the border when necessary in coordination with the Egyptian army.
Gallant Vows ‘Thorough’ Investigation
“I am deeply saddened by the fall of three soldiers as a result of the security incident on the Egyptian border. IDF troops conducted their missions with great diligence, yet the outcome was dire,” Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said.
“I have conducted a situation assessment with the IDF Chief of the General Staff.
“The IDF will investigate this event thoroughly. I have full confidence in the soldiers and commanders of the IDF, who will continue conducting their missions in a determined and consistent manner.”
Egypt Claims Security Officer was Chasing Drug Smugglers
The Egyptian military said in its statement on the incident that the shooting took place when an officer in charge of border security chased suspected drug smugglers.
“During the pursuit [the Egyptian officer] crossed the security barrier and an exchange of gunfire began in which three Israeli security personnel were killed,” the statement said.
The Egyptian army added that it wished to convey “sincere condolences” to the families of the victims.