Israel army kills 3 'terrorists' at border

2012-09-21 16:00

Har Harif - Israeli troops on Friday shot dead three heavily armed gunmen who sneaked across the Egyptian border and ambushed soldiers, averting "a very big terror attack", a military spokesperson said.

One Israeli soldier was also injured in the stomach during the incident and taken to a hospital in the southern city of Beersheva, medical officials said.

The incident took place on the Israeli side of the frontier at a place called Har Harif which is almost half-way down Israel's 240km border with Egypt's Sinai peninsula.

"Three armed terrorist entered from the Sinai into Israel," army spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Avital Leibovich told reporters.

"They opened fire toward IDF [army] troops that were guarding the workers [building the fence] in that area. Another force that was nearby ... rushed to the area and targeted those three terrorists," she said.

"All three terrorists were killed."

Increase in border incidents

She said the gunmen were "very well armed and prepared" in terms of equipment. At least one was wearing an explosives belt, the army said.

"A very big terror attack was thwarted by the quick response of these soldiers," Leibovich said, ruling out the possibility that any further gunmen had infiltrated Israeli territory.

The injured soldier was airlifted to Soroka hospital in Beersheva. "One soldier is in moderate to serious condition with a stomach injury," hospital spokesperson Inbar Gutter said.

In Egypt, a security source and witnesses reported hearing an explosion followed by heavy gunfire.

Border security incidents have increased over the past 18 months as a wave of lawlessness has gripped the Sinai since the overthrow of veteran Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.

On 5 August, Islamist militants staged a bloody ambush on an Egyptian security post, killing 16 border police before crashing an armoured vehicle and a truck through the Israeli border fence where they were killed by troops.

Launch pad

Six weeks earlier, at least three militants had on 18 June sneaked across the border from Sinai and ambushed two cars carrying Israeli construction workers, killing one and sparking a firefight with the army in which two of the gunmen died. The third fled back to Egypt.

The most serious incident for the Jewish state took place in August 2011, when another group of gunmen from Sinai infiltrated southern Israel and staged a series of ambushes that killed eight Israelis.

Israel has accused Gaza-based militants of using the Sinai as a launch pad for cross-border attacks and has demanded that Egypt crack down on Islamist elements in the lawless peninsula.

In a bid to prevent such attacks, as well as the entry of illegal immigrants from Africa, Israel has been working on the construction of a massive steel barrier along its border with the Sinai.

  • Desilusionada - 2012-09-21 16:06

    Live by the sword..........

  • customdesign - 2012-09-21 16:17

    Plug em

      customdesign - 2012-09-21 16:27

      By the way, why is terrorists in inverted commas? That is what they are...

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-09-22 02:58

      Patrick sees himself as a "press organization".

  • kobus.hattingh.5 - 2012-09-21 16:19

    Bravo Israel!

  • larry.lachman.54 - 2012-09-21 16:28

    Well done Israel.

  • Stlouis Heidtmann - 2012-09-21 16:34

    shoot em up

  • bheki.moyo.39 - 2012-09-21 16:42

    You can't win against Israel ,the army is formidable

  • Tshegofatso Mygirlbad Mutenda - 2012-09-21 17:01

    jst wondering why only one of the three wore a suicide vest. lets the steel barrier will produce a decrease of sum sort with regards to the ambushes

  • dominic.goller.9 - 2012-09-21 18:29

    way behind the news, the soldier was killed.

  • jojo.balela.1 - 2012-09-21 22:20

    WOW! The people commeting here sound like absolute thugs. Israeli supporters make the muslim extremists look like harmless kittens

      Shaakeer Adam Seedat - 2012-09-21 22:45

      if theyre after u jojo, ull hav to baleka

  • nicholas.breakey - 2012-09-21 23:17

    Well done IDF three less scum bags hope the injured soldier recovers.

  • scholesss - 2012-09-22 08:26

    weldone israel...keeep alert always..

  • dexter.morganson - 2012-09-23 01:51

    It's funny how people that claim to stand for "freedom" are the same ones that's cheering on the terrorist state of Israel which was forced upon the native Palestinians way back in the late '40s already. It just goes to show that 80% of the population of this country(Hell any country for that matter) only believes and cheers on what they get TOLD to cheer on. The media(For obvious reason) portray the Palestinians(unarmed) as terrorists while they portray the Israeli's (Nuclear power) as victims? You people don't know what's going on. You just want to be part of the "in crowd" that's all.

      neil.fromearth - 2012-09-26 23:21

      Dexter, firstly way back and we are talking not hundreds but thousands of years - the jews occupied this land. Secondly the UN, along with a big push from the UK agreed to give this land to the jews after WWII, during which over 6 million died and the jews have been persecuted for centuries. So where do you expect the jews of this world to live - a place they can call their own. There are roughly 6 million jews in Israel and 350 million muslims in the arab league alone. Israel is tiny, one of the smallest nations in the world. So pray please tell me why do you think they should just give up Israel and where on earth would they go. And I haven't even mentioned the call for israel's annihilation by certain arab/palestinian leaders, nor the fact that Israel has had to defend itself from numerous attacks by it's neighbours. I am talking about the big ones. 1948, 67 and 73. What are a resilient nation who are backed into a corner by most of the world.

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