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IDF soldier wounded in gunfight along Egypt border

Some 20 suspected smugglers converged on the Nitzana commercial crossing, prompting IDF forces to open fire on them.

The border between Israel and Egypt, near Nitzana, Nov. 29, 2011. Photo by Dudu Greenspan/Flash90.
The border between Israel and Egypt, near Nitzana, Nov. 29, 2011. Photo by Dudu Greenspan/Flash90.

An Israel Defense Forces soldier was wounded overnight Monday in a gun battle with suspected smugglers along the Israel-Egypt border.

According to the military, about 20 suspects, some of them armed, converged on the Nitzana commercial crossing southwest of Beersheva, prompting forces to open fire.

During the ensuing exchange, a female soldier was moderately wounded. She was evacuated in stable condition to the hospital, where her condition has since improved.

Trucks carrying goods into the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip are being inspected by Israeli authorities at the Nitzana Crossing with the Sinai Peninsula.

The trucks are then escorted by Israeli forces some 30 miles to the Rafah Crossing between Egypt and Gaza

In June, three IDF soldiers were killed in two separate exchanges of fire with a terrorist along the border with Egypt’s Sinai.

In the first incident, two soldiers, one of them female, were fatally shot while manning an observation post along the frontier. Hours later, during the search for the perpetrator, another soldier died in an exchange of fire within Israeli territory. A fourth soldier was lightly wounded.

The terrorist, identified as an Egyptian police officer, was killed.

Since Israel completed a high-tech security fence along the border with Egypt, it has been largely quiet.

With its network of radars and cameras, the fence—dubbed “Hourglass” by the Israeli Defense Ministry—issues alerts to IDF units regarding suspicious movements.

It has also entirely curbed the flow of illegal African migrants into the Jewish state and significantly boosted the military’s ability to defend the country against Salafi-jihadist terrorist organizations, including a local branch of Islamic State active in the Sinai Peninsula.

Sinai-based terrorists carried out multiple attacks against Israel in 2011 and 2012, before the fence was completed. In August 2011, terrorists killed six Israeli civilians, an IDF soldier, an Israeli police counterterrorism officer and five Egyptian soldiers.

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