Three Israeli soldiers died this Saturday morningin the midst of a “security incident” on the border with Egypt, reported Col Richard Hechtspokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) at a press conference with Infobae, who also pointed out that the attacker was shot.
“This morning, a security incident occurred in the area of the Paran Regional Brigade. Two soldiers, a man and a woman, died hit by bullets near the border”, it was initially reported through a statement, then the spokesperson confirmed at the press conference about the death of the third soldier.
“Recently, an (Israeli) soldier was killed during an exchange of fire with an assailant on Israeli territory,” he said.
A fourth soldier, a non-commissioned officer, was slightly injured and was evacuated to the hospital.the spokesman added.
Hecht indicated that the incident is being investigated and that IDF troops are carrying out search operations in the area, but the assailant, whose identity and nationality were not revealed, was killed by Israeli troops.
However, some sources say that the attacker would be an Egyptian policemanHowever, these data have not yet been confirmed.
“During a confrontation with an assailant on Israeli territory, an exchange of fire at his instigation with Israeli soldiers took place. The soldiers responded with live fire and neutralized it,” a military spokesman said.
“The Defense Forces express our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and we will continue to support them,” the Israeli army said earlier in a statement.
The incident in which the three soldiers died occurred near the Mount Sagi in the Negev desert, within Israeli territory, but hours later the Army reported another shooting incident in the same area.
The spokesman said the attacker was on Israeli territory when he opened fire on the troops. The soldiers returned fire, killing the gunman.
“There are criminal groups that sometimes smuggle drugs across the border,” Hecht told reporters, but it’s also important to note that militant Islamic groups are active in troubled north Sinai in Egypt.
Israel and Egypt signed a peace agreement in 1979 and maintain close security ties. Fighting along their shared border is rare.
The border between Israel and Egypt is largely peaceful, however there are frequent drug smuggling attempts through the separation fence, where from time to time there is an exchange of fire between Israeli soldiers and the smugglers.
The exchange of fire reportedly took place around the Nitzana border crossing between Israel and Egypt. The crossing is located about 40 kilometers southeast of the point where Israel’s border with Egypt and the Gaza Strip converge. It is used to import goods from Egypt destined for Israel or the Gaza Strip ruled by hamas.
The Egyptian Army also frequently targets drug traffickers as well as jihadist groups in the North Sinai desert, sometimes resulting in accidental cross-border shooting.
Sinai-based jihadists carried out multiple attacks against Israel in 2011 and 2012. In an attack in August 2011, six Israeli civilians, a soldier and an anti-terror police officer were killed, as well as five Egyptian soldiers.
Hours before the first shooting incident on Saturday, Israeli troops foiled an attempt to smuggle drugs across the border, seizing an estimated 1.5 million shekels ($400,000) worth of contraband, according to military officials.
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