An Israeli civilian was killed and another wounded Monday morning when a terrorist cell crossed over the border from Egypt and opened fire on the Israelis’ vehicles. Two of the Palestinian infiltrators were killed in the ensuing gun battle with Israeli troops in the area, while the third terrorist was either killed or escaped back into Sinai. In a blogger’s the IDF spokesman said the terrorists were part of a terrorist sniper cell from Beit Hanoun.
The Israeli who was killed was part of a construction crew, and not a member of the military. His name was Saed Fashafshe, 36, father of four.
The attack, on Route 10 some 30 km south of the Gaza Strip, began at around 6 a.m. in Israel (11pm on Sunday EST). when a three-man cell infiltrated Israel through an incomplete section of the fence. Fashatshe was on his way to work constructing the fence along the Egyptian border when his vehicle was hit by the anti-tank rocket. The terrorists then also opened fire with machine guns and detonated a roadside bomb by remote control.
The IDF Spokesman also reported:
- 2 vehicles of construction workers were driving along the road after 6am
- 3 terrorists crossed from the Egyptian side and were hiding on the Israeli side
- The terrorists opened fire with an RPG and kalashnikov rifles.
- RPG missed, Kalashnikov hit the car and flipped it.
- The Golani squad arrived at the scene. Exchange of fire led to explosion, which killed 2 of the terrorists. One of the terrorists had explosives strapped to him. 2 bodies confirmed.
- Road and 5 Israeli communities have reopened. Had been closed for 5 hours.
- It was similar to the to Aug 2011 attack over the Egyptian border: (a) top quality gear, confirmed from what’s left behind (b) part of the squad remained on the Egyptian side (Last August, gunmen from Sinai crossed into Israel and ambushed vehicles
on a desert highway, killing eight Israelis. Six Egyptians were killed
in Israel’s subsequent hunt for the terrorists, causing a diplomatic
crisis that ended with an Israeli apology).
The issues this attack raises goes way beyond one terrorist incident. Yesterday was the last day of the Egyptian Presidential election, the Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Mursi has declared victory in the election. As Barry Rubin explains
Al-Mursi has openly declared his support for Hamas and priority on battling Israel on some level. Those campaigning for him, in his presence, have said that the Brotherhood is seeking a Sharia state in Egypt and a caliphate over the whole Middle East whose capital will be in a conquered Jerusalem. The Salafists–a coalition of many hardline Islamist groups–gave the Brotherhood candidate full support.
Is this the first of many attacks over the Egyptian border? It certainly makes sense. As long as Mursi and his Muslim Brotherhood buddies don’t negate the treaty with Israel, terrorist forces can infiltrate via the Sinai and Israel will have a hard time retaliating, especially if the Egyptian Army promises to look (unsuccessfully) for the perpetrator(s).
Hopefully I am wrong, but this feels like the next step in the endless battle to eliminate a Jewish State in the holy land.