Terrorists Kill 16 Egyptian Soldiers, Fail to Enter Israel
IDF forces foiled an attempted inflitration by Gaza terrorists Sunday evening in the Kerem Shalom area. The IDF hit one vehicle from the air and IDF soldiers fired at it after it managed to cross the border at Kerem Shalom and the terrorists in it were killed.
Initial reports from Gaza said that members of an extremist Islamic group attacked two Egyptian army posts in the Egyptian part of Rafiah with anti-tank rockets and gunfire, killing 16 Egyptian officers and soldiers. Al Jazeera later put the number of Egyptian soldiers dead at 20.
They then commandeered two Egyptian military armored personnel carriers (APC) and tried to use them to cross into Israeli territory. Reports said there were two such APCs and that one of them blew up at the security fence as it approached the Kerem Shalom crossing.
The IDF instructed residents of the region to stay indoors and remain alert. In addition, civilians were asked to stay off of Road 232. The IDF said that no IDF soldiers are missing, and no abduction took place.
Egyptian authorities say forces are combing the area with cooperation of Bedouin chieftains.
In addition to the attack on the Egyptian positions and the Kerem Shalom infiltration attempt, dozens of rockets and mortar shells were fired at southern Israel near Sderot in an intense barrage.
There have been no reports of casualties in Israel. The rocket and mortar shell barrage may have been timed as a distraction, to enable the aborted infiltration into Israel.
According to the Bawaba al-Ahram website, 11 of 20 Egyptian officers and soldiers who died in the attack were killed when a car bomb went off inside an Egyptian military position.
The IDF issued warnings before the weekend for Israelis to leave the Sinai due to intelligence information on an intended terrorist attack by one of the groups, possibly the Islamic Jihad, which have taken advantage of Egypt's lack of control in the area..
The website reported that members of an extremist group thought to be associated with Al Qaeda drove up to an Egyptian military position in the Al Masoura area at the entrance to Rafiah. They attacked two Egyptian positions with antitank weapons and gunfire and commandeered an APC.
The Al Youm al Saba' newspaper reported that the attackers hail from a Salafist group called Al Takfir wal Hijra.