Photo Credit: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit
Israel’s Route 10 (pictured) straddling the Israel-Egypt border.

An Egyptian police officer who shot and killed three IDF soldiers on Saturday had prepared for the attack and apparently was carrying out his personal “jihad” (holy war), according to a report on Sunday by Galei Tzahal Army Radio.

Searches of the terrorist’s body after he was killed hours later by IDF troops turned up a Quran in addition to a gun and two knives.


The discovery led officials to believe the terrorist was likely motivated by radical Islam, according to the report.

Infiltrated via Emergency Border Gate ‘Locked’ with Plastic Ties
The attacker apparently infiltrated Israeli territory by using his knife to cut the plastic zip ties that “locked” an emergency gate used by IDF personnel in coordination with Egypt, and simply walking into Israeli territory.

He had walked about five kilometers (three miles) from his guard post on the Egyptian side of the border and then climbed a cliff to reach the emergency gate – making it clear he knew the location of the gate and was deeply familiar with the terrain.

His preparations – which included carrying his Quran — made it clear he had carefully planned the deadly attack.

‘Many Incidents’ Take Place in That Area
“This incident occurred in an operational zone where many incidents take place,” IDF Spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari told Ynet on Sunday.

“During the night, forces had thwarted a drug smuggling operation at 3 am, and forces were deployed as part of the efforts to prevent the smuggling.

“At 4:15 am, that was the last time there was contact with the post. Ori was the senior commander at the post, and he made contact with the regional brigade commander. Regular checks need to be conducted every hour.

“The command arrived in the morning and found them lifeless,” Hagari said. Neither soldier had a chance to fire back at their attacker.

Egypt Told IDF a Security Officer was Missing
“Searches began both within Egyptian territory and within Israel. It should be understood that this is an area where hikers frequent.”

Hagari said the Egyptian military, meanwhile, notified the IDF at 9 am that they were missing an officer. Egyptian and Israeli forces started a joint investigation.

The IDF spokesperson also said there were reports of muffled gunfire at around 7 am. “I assume this was the time the terrorist shot and killed the male and female soldiers at the post – and that certainly needs to be investigated.

Hunting the Terrorist, IDF Soldiers Held Their Fire
“As soon as they realized the soldiers were not alive, a terrorist event was declared, and searches began. A drone was deployed and identified a suspicious figure 1.5 kilometers into the territory. The force moved toward that figure but they couldn’t just kill him because he might have been Israeli.

“[The figure] opened fire – and from that burst of gunfire, Ohad was killed.”

The terrorist had reached nearly five kilometers (three miles) from the border and was heading towards an IDF officer training base when he was stopped by the Israeli forces led by brigade commander Brigadier General Itzik Cohen and regional division commander Lt. Colonel Ido Sa’ad.

At that point, the air support requested by Cohen had still not arrived, so it was decided to advance and surround the terrorist without that support.

Due to the complex terrain and the decision to hold fire until making sure the suspect was not Israeli, however, the terrorist opened fire first, killing Dahan before IDF forces could return fire and kill him.

Three IDF soldiers were killed by the end of the day on Saturday: Staff Sgt. Ori Yitzhak Iluz, Staff Sgt. Ohad Dahan and Sgt. Lia Ben Nun. All were combat soldiers in the mixed-gender light infantry Bardelas and Caracal battalions tasked with guarding the border.

The funerals for the trio were held on Sunday in their hometowns.

Two IDF Probes, Findings Due in a Week
Hagari emphasized that “this is an exceptional event; we have had years of peace.”

Nevertheless, two separate investigations are being carried out by the IDF, with both probes to be completed this week.

IDF Major General Nimrod Aloni has been tapped by IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi to investigate the systemic failures that led to the death of three IDF soldiers. His team has been assigned to examine the “operational and systemic perception of defense of peaceful borders,” the IDF said on Sunday.

IDF Southern Command chief Major General Eliezer Toledano will carry out a separate probe together with Brig. Gen. Cohen to investigate the soldiers’ conduct during the attack.


Previous articleOmer Bar Lev and Angel’s Bakery Owner go to Rabbi Edelstein’s Shiva to Apologize
Next articleIsrael Strengthening Ties with Southeast Asia
Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.