Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Monday that Israel expected the new
president in Egypt - whoever it is - to retake control of the Sinai
Peninsula and to clear it out of terrorist infrastructure.
expect the president to take responsibility for all of Egypt's
international commitments including the peace treaty with Israel and to
ensure security arrangements are in place in the Sinai to stop these
kind of attacks," Barak said during a meeting with his Polish
counterpart in Tel Aviv, as reports of Egyptian election results began to emerge.
comments came in response to a terror attack earlier Monday, in which a
terror cell crossed into Israel, killing one Israeli and seriously
wounding another. The attack came almost a year since the last deadly terror infiltration from the Sinai.
incident took place at around 6 a.m., along a section of the Egyptian
border, located about 30 km. from the Gaza Strip and not far from the
Israeli town of Nitzana.
Israeli workmen involved
in constructing the border fence were driving in two cars along the
border when a road-side bomb went off. The bomb and terrorists were on
the Egyptian side of the border, the IDF said. The bomb hit one of the
cars which flipped over, killing one of the workmen. Another workman was
A force from Golani immediately arrived at
the scene, a gun fight ensued and a bomb carried by one of the
terrorists exploded. Two terrorists were killed in the gunfight and the
IDF believed that a third was also killed in the clash, but had not yet
The terrorists were wearing uniforms, military
vests and helmets, and were armed with AK-47 Kalashnikov assault rifles,
fragmentation grenades and additional RPGs.
While the IDF had
yet to rule out that additional terrorists infiltrated into Israel, it
said this appeared to be unlikely. The IDF added that the terror cell
could be larger than three and additional terrorists could be in Egypt.
The IDF was still searching for additional terrorists, and ordered all residents in the area to remain inside their
homes. Schools were closed for the time being.
The IDF also
closed all roads in the area including Road 12 which was reopened last
week after it was closed following the attacks last August.
morning’s attack was the most sophisticated infiltration since the
attack last August along the border which killed eight Israelis. Israel
has claimed that last year’s attack was orchestrated by the Popular
Resistance Committees – a Hamas offshoot based in Gaza – but carried out
by Bedouin from the Sinai.
A senior IDF officer said that
commanders stationed along the border have ruled out the possibility
that a soldier was abducted by the cell but noted that it might have
been the cell’s objective. The focus is currently on preventing
additional attacks particularly inside Israeli towns in the Negev.
Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Tal Russo went to the scene to
oversee the operation and Chief of Staff Lt.- Gen. Benny Gantz was
holding consultations regarding the incident.
attack, the Negev police sub-district deployed large numbers of forces
throughout the area. Police shut off a section of Route 211, and set up
checkpoints at the junctions of Kamhin and Kadesh Barnea.
The attack came on the heels of an Israeli airstrike against a
rocket manufacturing plant inside Gaza late Sunday night, and after two
Grad-model Katyusha rockets were fired into Israel from the Sinai
Peninsula over the weekend.
A senior defense official said Sunday
that Israel had not yet confirmed the identity of the terror cell that
launched the rockets but said that the IDF was bracing for additional
“This is a sensitive time for Egypt and we are prepared
for the possibility that there will be a further escalation from the
Sinai,” a senior defense official said on Sunday.
senior IDF officer said Monday that while there was a general
high-level of alert along the border there was not specific intelligence
about the early-morning infiltration.
Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report