Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Monday morning’s attack on the border with Egypt would not deter Israel from building the security barrier.
“This barrier is meant both to prevent terrorism and also to prevent the entrance of infiltrators. Its construction is of supreme national interest,” Netanyahu said.
The prime minister ordered security forces to act with determination and resolve against "whoever attacks us from within Egypt."
Netanyahu said that had the government not decided to build the fence two years ago, the country would today be facing a flood of both terrorists and infiltrators.
Israeli workman Said Phashpashe was killed in the attack. Netanyahu sent his condolences to the family of Phashpashe, a Haifa resident and father of four.
An additional workman was seriously injured in the clash.
"The attack was most likely aimed at Israeli citizens and against people who work on the security fence along the Egyptian border," Netanyahu stated.
The 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 seriously injured.
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 terrorist was also involved in the clash, who they believed to be in Sinai.
Following the attack and fearing additional attacks, the IDF moved a number of
Merkava tanks up to the border to help protect against additional infiltrations.
The tanks were removed immediately after the IDF confirmed that all of the
terrorists had been accounted for and none remained inside Israeli
The decision to move the tanks up along the border was done in
consideration of Israel’s peace treaty with Egypt which forbids the deployment
of Israeli tanks in the area. IDF sources said that the deployment was done as
the attack was still unfolding and that it was part of a defensive
“They were then immediately removed,” one source said.