Israel, Egypt investigate deadly border incident

The probe was launched after three IDF soldiers and a Egyptian security official were killed on Saturday

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant spoke with his Egyptian counterpart, Mohamed Ahmed Zaki, over the phone on Saturday, discussing the firefight at the border earlier that day, which claimed the lives of three Israeli soldiers and one Egyptian security official.

The defense chiefs agreed to take measures in order to “prevent the recurrence of such incidents in the future,” according to the statement from the Egyptian Armed Forces. 

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said that “an investigation is being conducted in full cooperation with the Egyptian army.”

Both sides provided different versions of the skirmish. The IDF initially reported that around 2:30 am local time on Saturday its soldiers busted a cross-border smuggling operation. The Israeli army later said that two of its soldiers, one of whom was a female sergeant, were gunned down at a border outpost. It added that a third IDF service member was later killed by “an Egyptian policeman” who had crossed into Israeli territory. The intruder was killed in the ensuing firefight, and a fourth IDF soldier received light injuries, the Israeli army said.

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The Egyptian Armed Forces said in a statement that the country’s border security personnel were “chasing drug smuggling elements” when one of Egypt’s security officials crossed the border and “exchanged fire” with the Israelis. Cairo did not explain how its official had entered Israeli territory. 

The Egyptian-Israeli border has remained relatively calm since the countries signed a peace treaty in 1979. An IDF spokesperson was quoted by the media as saying that the last known incursion that ended in casualties occurred around 10 years ago.

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