IDF and Israel Police forces conducting anti-smuggling operations overnight Monday foiled a potential terrorist attack when they discovered a powerful explosive device being brought into the country.

During the course of the night, the anti-smuggling forces operating near the Egyptian-Israeli border identified a person, who subsequently threw away a bag and ran from the location.

The forces initiated a search and came across the bag the man had abandoned. Inside it, they found a powerful explosive device.

Sappers detonated the device to dispose of it.

The IDF said the incident was a reminder that smuggling routes are constantly being exploited by terrorist organizations working to carry out attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers.  Alertness by soldiers and successful operations are responsible for preventing terror attacks against Israel and its citizens, the IDF said.

An IDF officer said the explosive device military and police forces found Tuesday morning near the Egyptian-Israeli border had the potential to cause a large number of casualties, Israel Radio reported Tuesday afternoon.

The executive officer of Yahalom  - a special elite combat engineering unit - said the cargo contained spray pellets and remote detonation devices controlled via mobile phones, according to Israel Radio. He added that it was unclear whether the terrorists who placed the bomb intended to use it against IDF soldiers along the border, or whether they intended to use it in another location.
 
Security forces have long been concerned that as Egyptian control over the Sinai Peninsula erodes, Jihadi elements will take advantage of smuggling routes used by drug runners and other criminals.

The military views the latest attempted bombing as such a case.

The authorities believe the intended target was IDF forces that patrol the southern border.

Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report.

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