Terrorists infiltrate Egypt-Israel border, kill civilian contractor (ISRAEL HAYOM) The Associated Press, Lilach Shoval and Israel Hayom Staff 06/18/12)
Israel Hayom Articles-Index-Top
Israeli fatality identified as Saed Fashafshe, 36, an Israeli-Arab
Defense Ministry contractor from Haifa • Two, possibly three
Palestinian terrorists killed in ensuing gun battle • Barak:
disturbing deterioration in Egyptian control of Sinai • IDF kills two
more Palestinian terrorists in northern Gaza.
An Israeli civilian was killed and another wounded Monday morning
when a terrorist cell from Sinai infiltrated southern Israel in the
area of Kadesh Barnea and opened fire on the Israelis´ vehicles. Two
of the Palestinian infiltrators were killed in the ensuing gun battle
with Israeli troops in the area, while the third terrorist was either
killed or escaped back into Sinai. Later on Monday, the Israeli air
force killed two Palestinians traveling on a motorbike in the
northern Gaza Strip. The Israel Defense Forces spokesperson said the
two Palestinians were part of a terrorist sniper cell from Beit
Hanoun and were not connected to the earlier attack along the border.
Palestinian sources said the men were members of the Islamic Jihad
The Israeli fatality in the infiltration attack was identified as
Saed Fashafshe, 36, an Israeli-Arab Defense Ministry contractor from
Haifa and father of four. Although a civilian, Fashatshe will be
recognized as a victim of enemy action and his family will be granted
all the benefits accorded as such.
The attack, on Route 10 some 30 km south of the Gaza Strip, began at
around 6 a.m. when a three-man cell infiltrated Israel through an
incomplete section of the fence. Fashatshe was on his way to work
constructing the fence along the Egyptian border when his vehicle was
hit by the anti-tank rocket. The terrorists then also opened fire
with machine guns and detonated a roadside bomb by remote control.
Fashafshe suffered wounds to the head and died at the scene. The IDF
said there was no prior intelligence regarding a possible attack
against fence construction workers in the area.
IDF forces from the Golani Brigade 13th Battalion patrolling the area
engaged the terrorists within minutes of the attack. The army
confirmed that two terrorists were killed in the initial firefight
and that they were heavily armed with explosives, grenades and light
weapons. Later Monday morning, the IDF said that two terrorists were
killed when the explosives one of the terrorists was wearing on his
body blew up in the firefight with the IDF troops. Soldiers could not
immediately tell if there were two or three bodies of the terrorists
at the scene because their body parts were strewn across a wide area,
but the army later ruled out that a third terrorist was inside
Israeli territory, saying that he may have escaped back into Egyptian
territory. Earlier it was feared the terrorists would lay low until
the IDF left the area and would then try to infiltrate an Israeli
The incident underscores the Egyptian government´s increasing loss of
control over the Sinai, where political turmoil, weak policing and
difficult terrain have encouraged Islamic terrorist activity. Israel
had been bracing for possible attacks from the area after rockets
believed fired from Sinai struck southern Israel over the weekend.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak in a statement Monday that the terrorist
infiltration, as well as the rocket fire from Sinai, represented
a "disturbing deterioration of Egyptian control in the Sinai."
"We are waiting for the results of the election [in Egypt]," Barak
said. "Whoever wins, we expect them to take responsibility for all of
Egypt´s international commitments, including the peace treaty with
Israel and the security arrangements in the Sinai; swiftly putting an
end to these attacks."
As the attack developed, Israeli communities in the Egypt border area
were ordered into lock down, and schools were closed. Routes 10 and
12 were closed to public traffic and authorities were not allowing
motorists to travel to the area. Ramat Negev Regional Council Mayor
Shmulik Rifman described the incident to Army Radio on Monday
morning. He said two vehicles left one of the communities in the
morning to continue work on the fence between Israel and Egypt. A
roadside bomb was detonated against one of the vehicles, Rifman said,
adding that there were concerns that two or more terrorists were
still inside Israeli territory. "As soon as we were informed of the
incident we stopped all school buses, and those that had already left
were diverted to one of the communities," Rifman said. The mayor
added that he could see IDF soldiers patrolling the area, but that
the Israeli soldiers were not entering Egyptian territory. "On the
other side I see Egyptian troops strolling around as if nothing had
happened," Rifman told Army Radio.
Residents of Beer Milka were ordered into bomb shelters in the
morning, and residents of the Ramat Negev Regional Council area were
not allowed to travel on the roads to work, as the entire area along
the border was closed to civilian traffic. By early afternoon the
alert was lifted, roads 10 and 12 were reopened, and residents were
allowed out of bunkers.
IDF Spokesman Brig. Gen. Yoav (Poly) Mordechai said that the IDF had
recently bolstered its forces along the Egyptian border with troops
from the Givati, Golani and Paratroopers brigades, as well as
increased intelligence-gathering measures.
Israel Radio quoted a defense official as saying that Monday´s border
incident was the result of growing pressure on groups of smugglers,
terrorists, and crime syndicates as a result of the increased pace of
the construction of the border fence. Monday´s attack on fence´s
construction workers was aimed at slowing down the pace of
construction, the source told Israel Radio. More than 100 companies
are contracted to build the fence along Israel´s border with Egypt,
with some 1,500 workers employed on the project.
Bezalel Traiber, the head of the Defense Ministry´s Assets and
Operations Department, who is responsible for the border fence
project, said that 180 km of the 242-km border fence have already
been completed. Speaking to Israel Radio, Traiber said there are two
incomplete mountainous areas where the work will take longer because
of the topographical challenges there, as well as a 17-km stretch
near Eilat that still need to be constructed. "One-hundred and eighty
kilometers of the 242 kilometers between Taba and Kerem Shalom are
complete. This shows the other side that this business is serious and
that is causing pressure on the other side. By the end of July we
should be close to 200 kilometers complete," Traiber said.
Last August, gunmen from Sinai crossed into Israel and ambushed
vehicles on a desert highway, killing eight Israelis. Six Egyptians
were killed in Israel´s subsequent hunt for the terrorists, causing a
diplomatic crisis that ended with an Israeli apology.
Defense Ministry Diplomatic-Security Bureau head Amos Gilad said
Monday that Israel has faith in Egypt´s ability to assert control
over the Sinai. " Sinai is a huge territory. There are weapons
smuggling routes from Iran and from Libya. Extremist terrorist groups
are setting up base there to destabilize Egypt as well as destabilize
the Egypt-Israel peace treaty by launching attacks against Israel,"
Gilad told Israel Radio.
"The Egyptians are sovereign in the Sinai, we have faith in their
ability to assert control there, and to assert its sovereignty in
Sinai. We believe they can do it. Israel expects Egypt to adhere to
the peace accords with Israel, which is in both sides´ interests. If
terror plots emanate from Gaza, that´s one thing, if they emanate
from within Sinai, which is in Egypt´s territory, it is the
responsibility of the Egyptians to stop them. The Egyptians have all
the reasons in the world to maintain the peace treaty with Israel,
including U.S. and international assistance," Gilad said.
Meanwhile, the Israel Air Force struck two targets in the Gaza Strip
overnight Sunday. According to the IDF, warplanes struck a weapons
manufacturing lab in the southern Gaza Strip, as well as another
terror-related target in the central part of Gaza. Palestinian
sources reported five wounded in an attack on a factory near Rafah in
the southern Gaza Strip.
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