Three Israeli soldiers and an Egyptian policeman are killed in a confused shootout at the border | International
Three Israeli soldiers and an Egyptian policeman have been killed in a confusing border incident about which each country offers different versions and which is unprecedented in more than a decade. The only thing confirmed at the moment by the Armed Forces of both countries is that the four have died in a shootout and in Israeli territory, near the border.
According to the Israeli army, the Egyptian policeman shot two Israeli soldiers who were guarding a border post at dawn with a rifle. The controls discovered it about two hours later, seeing that they did not respond to the messages. It was then that he began his search, in a deserted and practically uninhabited area of Israel. Upon finding him, a shootout ensued in which both the Egyptian and a third soldier died, he said in a statement, before stressing that he was investigating the attacker's motivation "in full cooperation" with his Egyptian counterpart and was searching the area to rule out to come in accompanied
Two hours later, the Egyptian Armed Forces indicated that the deceased agent was assigned to fight against drug trafficking and crossed into Israeli territory following drug traffickers who had crossed the border. The pursuit led to a shooting that "caused the death of three Israeli soldiers, wounding two others, and the death of the Egyptian agent," they say in a statement without further details.
The Sinai episode in 2011
It is the most serious incident on the common border in more than a decade. In 2011 – when the Sinai was considered a “lawless territory” where jihadists and smugglers roamed freely – a terrorist cell entered Israel and launched a series of coordinated attacks (against a bus, a military patrol and a private car). which killed eight Israelis, six of them civilians. A year later, a similar group killed 16 Egyptian soldiers before stealing their vehicles and entering Israeli soil, where they were gunned down.
It is also one of the worst on the mutual border since they signed a peace agreement in 1979 whereby Israel returned the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt, which it had captured in the Six-Day War (1967), one of the three that fought since 1948. Today, their respective governments maintain good relations and Cairo is the usual mediator in confrontations between Israel and Gaza militias.
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In a videoconference with journalists, the international spokesman for the army, Richard Hecht, specified that the Egyptian was not carrying an automatic weapon, but a Kalashnikov rifle with which he fired at the soldiers from relatively close range. Israel has not confirmed until early afternoon that the attacker was an Egyptian policeman.
The spokesman has also said the shootings were likely connected to a seizure, hours earlier, of drugs and other contraband worth 1.5 million shekels (373,000 euros or $400,000). In the attempt, ladders were used to jump over the border fence. The dividing line with the now hypermilitarized Sinai Peninsula is one of the hot spots for smuggling.
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