IDF foils major terror attack
Soldiers ambushed while providing water to group of migrants, kill three heavily armed terrorists attempting to infiltrate Israel from Egypt; suicide belt detonates during battle; IDF: They planned a killing spree.
A heavily armed terrorist cell from the Sinai Peninsula opened fire on IDF soldiers on the Israeli – Egyptian border on Friday, killing one soldier and injuring a second, before the gunmen were killed in return fire. The IDF announced the name the 20-year-old victim, Netanel Yahalomi, and promoted him posthumously to the rank of corporal.
The IDF confirmed that the terrorists ambushed the group of IDF soldiers while they were providing water to African migrants who had arrived at the border trying to cross into Israel.
Shots were fired at IDF Artillery Corps soldiers from a distance of 100 meters. One soldier sustained a bullet wound to the head and was killed immediately, IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai said. The soldier has not yet been named.
The Artillery Corps force instantly returned fire, shooting dead one terrorist.
As the gun-battle raged, reinforcements from the Karkal (Wildcat) battalion – a combat unit made up of male and female soldiers – quickly arrived on the scene, and stormed the gunmen. The battalion, which had been in the area to look out for illegal African migrants, engaged the terrorists and killed the remaining two attackers.
In the heavy exchanges of fire, a suicide bomb belt around one of the terrorists went off. Shrapnel from that blast lightly injured a soldier from the Artillery Corps. He was taken to the Soroka Medical Center in Be’ersheba, where doctors operated on him.
“The IDF stopped a very big terrorist attack,” Mordechai said. “The terrorists planned on going on a killing spree, either inside Israel or along the border,” he added.
IDF sappers recovered a large number of firearms and explosives from the terrorists after the incident, including and RPD machine gun, a rocket propelled grenade, Kalashnikov guns, ammunition, grenades, and personal equipment. The terrorists were dressed in civilian clothing.
The attack occurred along a 17 kilometer stretch of the border where the fence has not yet been completed, in the Har Harif area.
“We don’t believe this was a kidnapping attempt. There are no terrorists in Israeli territory,” Mordechai added.
OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Tal Russo arrived on the scene and inspected the area where fighting took place.
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz held a special evaluation of the situation. Security forces are now attempting to figure out whether the terrorists were Salafi jihadi elements from Sinai, or whether they originated from the Gaza Strip.
The Sinai Peninsula has become a hornet’s nest of jihadi activity, and is also often used by Gaza terror elements to launch attacks on the southern Israeli border.
On Wednesday, three Palestinian terrorists were killed in an airstrike in Gaza. They were planning to carry out an imminent terror attack in Israel, and in the past had attempted to smuggle explosives out of Gaza and into Israel through Sinai. The terrorists belonged to the Hamas offshoot group Defenders of Al-Aqsa.
Last month, terrorists with explosives in Sinai murdered 16 Egyptian security personnel and tried to burst through the Israeli border with vehicles they hijacked from an Egyptian base. The IDF stemmed the attack and destroyed the hijacked vehicle, killing the terrorists. In 2011, eight Israelis were murderedby a terror cell that crossed into Israel from Egypt’s Sinai. source – JPost