Egypt Seals Border Town in Pursuit of Jihadist Terrorists
Egyptian army helicopters, with the help of army rangers, were attempting to apprehend suspects in the attack that killed at least 15 Egyptian police officers in Sunday’s border attack, an Egyptian security source reported Monday. The attack was the deadliest such event Egypt’s tense Sinai border region has seen in decades.
On Sunday, jihadist terrorists took control over an Egyptian checkpoint, killing at least 15 policemen and injuring at least seven, and commandeered two Egyptian armored vehicles with which they charged toward the border crossing with Israel. One of the vehicles was destroyed at the Kerem Shalom crossing, while the other was engaged and destroyed by Israeli forces after it reached 2 km inside Israeli territory.
The Egyptian source, speaking to Ahram Online, said that early on Monday army units surrounded the city of Rafah, on the Egyptian side of the Egypt-Gaza border, to prevent suspects from escaping.
A television journalist in the northern Sinai said the area had been sealed off by security forces, who blocked the road from the main town of Arish in the direction of the Gaza border crossing at Rafah. Egyptian state television reported that the Rafah border crossing would be sealed indefinitely.
Quoting Egyptian media sources, Israel Radio reported that the death toll had reached 17.
On Sunday, operating on intelligence provided by the Israel Security Agency (the Shin Bet), the Israel Defense Forces killed the terrorists who had entered Israel, while sustaining no Israeli casualties. According to Israeli intelligence officials, the attack was orchestrated by a Salafi organization. Israeli intelligence services had reports of an impending attack from Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and were able to thwart the assault.
“We were prepared for it, so there was a hit,” IDF Spokesman Brig. Gen. Yoav Mordechai said.
Egyptian security had reportedly ignored Israeli warnings of an impending attack. Last week, an Egyptian security source accused Israeli travel agencies of being behind Israeli authorities’ warnings to Israeli tourists in Sinai, urging them to leave.