Security forces discover explosive on Egypt border

Smuggler along the Egyptian border drops bag with powerful explosives after being identified by joint anti-smuggling forces.

IDF soldiers in desert exercise 311 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
IDF soldiers in desert exercise 311
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
The IDF and Israel Police intercepted a powerful terrorist bomb on the Egyptian border early Tuesday and said the device could have been used to carry out a mass-casualty attack. The intended target could have been a southern town or village, the army believes.
Security forces who were carrying out anti-smuggling operations overnight Monday found the device on the Israeli side of the border, near the Philadelphi Corridor.
Soldiers spotted an individual walking in the area, who threw down a bag and fled the scene after realizing he had been seen.
Maj. M, who commands an Engineering Corps company that was called in to neutralize the device, said, “We reached the scene in the middle of the night and neutralized the device using a remote-control robot. We used our own small explosive device to make the bomb safe, while keeping our forces at a safe distance.”
The process of making the device safe took several hours.
“It could have caused many casualties had it fallen into the hands of terror organizations,” Maj. M added.
The army believes the bomb was intended for a suicide bomb belt or for striking civilians (rather than a passing military vehicle), since metal balls designed to act as shrapnel were recovered near the device.
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.