Members of the terror cell behind last month’s lethal cross-border ambush on IDF
soldiers were educated middle class Egyptians, not local Beduin as previously
assumed, Egyptian media reports said.
According to reports in the
Egyptian press, the two men, 31-year-old Ahmad Wajieh and his cousin,
25-year-old Bahaa Abdel Aziz Zaqzouq, were part of three-man terror
Twenty-year-old Cpl. Netanel Yahalomi of the IDF Artillery Corps
was shot dead while engaging the terrorists. He and his unit were giving water
to African migrants who had arrived on the border when the ambush began. IDF
soldiers killed all three terrorists within 15 minutes of the
According to Egyptian daily al-Masry al-Youm, the two men hailed
from the Mitkhakan village in Egypt’s Nile Delta.
Zaqzouq, who was
married with two children, graduated from the Faculty of Arts at Minoufiya
University, and was the only son of a family of four daughters.
family was religious, according to another report in the al-Ahram
Wajieh was a married father of two daughters, worked as an
engineer and was a religious singer in a group in Qesna, which is also in the
Minoufiya district. He gave recitals at concerts and weddings, the report
Wajieh’s friends told reporters that he did not belong to any
political or religious movement.
However, a report in al-Ahram claimed
that Wajieh had surprised his family after the Id al-Fitr holiday with a change
in his religious ideology.
Some time before the attack, the report said,
the two men left the village and their families did not hear from
One villager, named as Fathi Mahmoud, said that before he left
Zaqzouq he talked about his love of jihad, his anger over abuses against the
Prophet Muhammad and the struggle of Muslims in Syria.
report said that neighbors of the two men in Mitkhakan were saddened and
horrified after hearing the news that their fellow villagers had taken part in
the terror attack.
The report questioned how the men, who had lived
quietly in the village, had somehow been converted to jihadist
According to that report, one of the men’s relatives, who declined
to give his name, said that the Egyptian authorities should search for the
“missing link” – the person who recruited suicide bombers from the Minoufia
Other media reports also cited a relative of the two men, Mursi
Abdel-Khalek, who also claimed that they had been victims of religious groups
spreading extremist propaganda.
Ansar Bayit al-Muqaddas (“Supporters of
Jerusalem”) a Salafi jihadist group linked to al-Qaida, claimed responsibility
for the attack, saying in a statement that they aimed to “punish Jews” for the
anti- Islam movie Innocence of Muslims.
Residents from the village of
Mitkhakan, near Shibin al-Kawm in the Minufiya governorate, received the bodies
of two men, Egyptian media reported on Monday.
The IDF is continuing to
study the attack. Defense commentators have called on Israel to improve its
intelligence- gathering capabilities in the Sinai.