update deskIsrael at War

Egyptian soldier killed after IDF troops targeted at Gaza border

The exchange of fire took place near the Rafah Crossing to Sinai.

Egyptian soldiers stand guard at the Rafah border crossing to the southern Gaza Strip, Feb. 19, 2011. Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90.
Egyptian soldiers stand guard at the Rafah border crossing to the southern Gaza Strip, Feb. 19, 2011. Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90.

The Egyptian military opened fire at Israel Defense Forces troops stationed on the Gaza side of the Rafah border crossing on Monday.

An exchange of fire followed, with one Egyptian soldier killed.

The IDF confirmed that “A few hours ago, there was a shooting incident on the Egyptian border, which is the subject of an investigation,” adding that “a dialogue is taking place with the Egyptian side.”

Israel’s Channel 12 News cited an Egyptian army statement as saying that Cairo was probing a “shooting incident in which one Egyptian security personnel was killed in the area of the Rafah Crossing.”

Tensions between Israel and Egypt have been high since the IDF took control of the Gaza side of the Rafah Crossing on the morning of May 7.

A day earlier, Israel’s War Cabinet decided unanimously to “continue the operation in Rafah to exert military pressure on Hamas in order to promote the release of our hostages and the other goals of the war.”

Egypt has threatened to suspend its 45-year-old peace treaty with Israel if the IDF further expands its offensive against Hamas, and has lodged formal protests with the U.S. and European governments.

Two security sources in Cairo told the Reuters press agency earlier this month that Egypt has rejected an Israeli proposal to work together to reopen the Rafah border crossing and manage its operation jointly.

Egypt halted U.N. aid deliveries into Rafah after the Israeli military took control of the Gaza-Egypt border on May 7. On Friday, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi agreed during a telephone call with U.S. President Joe Biden to restore the flow of aid to Palestinians from Egypt.

Those supplies, however, are entering the Strip through Israel’s Kerem Shalom Crossing and not through Rafah.

Earlier this month, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz placed the onus for averting a humanitarian crisis squarely on Egypt’s shoulders.

Katz said he had spoken with his British and German counterparts “about the need to persuade Egypt to reopen the Rafah Crossing to allow the continued delivery of international humanitarian aid to Gaza.”

The Israeli minister emphasized that Hamas cannot be allowed to control the crossing. “This is a security necessity on which we will not compromise,” he said.

Most of Hamas’s weaponry and supplies enter the Strip via tunnels running under the Egypt-Gaza border.

Egypt-mediated talks for a ceasefire-for-hostages agreement have hit an impasse after an Egyptian official changed the terms of a proposal that Israel had signed off on to make it more favorable to Hamas.

Citing three sources with knowledge of the discussions, CNN on May 21 revealed for the first time the changes made by Cairo, which the U.S. news outlet said angered American, Israeli and Qatari negotiators.

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