IDF confirms troops mistakenly killed Egyptian officer

Probe finds incident early Monday resulted from communication problems with Egyptian forces, who were attempting to prevent smuggling.

An IDF probe into an incident at the Egyptian-Israeli border, in which an Egyptian army officer was shot and killed, has concluded that Israeli soldiers mistakenly opened fired towards the Egyptian side, without knowing that they were firing on Egyptian border forces. IDF soldiers present claim that they heard fire from the border and shot in the direction of the suspects without knowing that those in question were Egyptian border security. The problem, according to sources, seems to have arisen primarily because of a communication problem between the sides, as the Egyptians were attempting to prevent smuggling. The first Israeli media reports published on Monday that a masked gunman had shot the Egyptian border guard to death as the gunman attempted to cross the border. The IDF investigation, headed by OC Regional Division 80 commander, Brig.-Gen., Yoel Strik rejected the claim, stating that the gunfire was mistakenly carried out by Israeli forces. The initial media reports claimed that early Monday morning, IDF soldiers stationed near the border identified gunfire from the Egyptian side. The soldiers then opened fire towards suspicious figures and, after a short amount of time elapsed, gunfire was ceased. A few hours later the report of the slain Egyptian officer was received by the IDF. The inquiry's findings, however, indicate that before dawn on Monday IDF forces saw suspicious figures and fired towards the Egyptian border. It was also found that Egyptian border forces identified Israeli smugglers infiltrating Egyptian territory and opened fire at them, beginning an exchange of fire between the smugglers and the Egyptian forces. IDF forces then erroneously shot towards the Egyptian side not knowing that they were firing on Egyptian security forces.