Two Israeli Soldiers Wounded In Cross-Border Sinai Attack

Israeli soldiers carry a comrade who was wounded in an attack on the border with Egypt to a hospital in Be'er Sheva on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Dudu Grunshpan)
Israeli soldiers carry a comrade who was wounded in an attack on the border with Egypt to a hospital in Be’er Sheva on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Dudu Grunshpan)

Two Israeli soldiers were wounded in a cross-border attack from the Sinai Peninsula on Wednesday after they spotted a group of armed infiltrators.

The two soldiers, both were from the Caracal infantry battalion, reported in moderate and moderate to serious condition, were evacuated by helicopter to Soroka Medical Center in Be’er Sheva.

They were hit by automatic weapons fire and possibly anti-tank weapons during a routine patrol near the Egyptian border in the Nitzana area at about 2:00 p.m., IDF spokesman Lt. Colonel Peter Lerner said.

The IDF unit returned fire, killing at least three of the men. Military sources stressed that they were in ongoing consultation with Egyptian authorities during the incident.

Large forces were immediately mobilized, and combed the area to ensure that none of the terrorists had infiltrated into Israeli territory.

“We’re working in the [nearby] communities and a major aerial intelligence gathering operation is underway to try to figure out what happened,” he said.

The Egyptian military has been operating in the Sinai Peninsula in the past few weeks in order to thwart Ansar Bait al-Maqdis attacks. The al-Qaida-affiliated organization supports the Islamic State and tries to imitate it.

While IDF forces were securing the area, transportation of students from the Ezuz community in the Ramat Negev Regional Council area was suspended, and students were sent to a local community center.

In a separate incident on Wednesday, five IDF soldiers were injured when a military jeep overturned near the place of the shooting, the military said.

The attack took place at almost the precise location of a similar cross-border shooting in September 2012.

In that incident, Cpl. Netanel Yahalomi, Hyd, was killed and another IDF soldier moderately wounded by three terrorists who opened fire on an IDF patrol on the Egyptian border. Terrorists reportedly managed to approach soldiers after disguising themselves as African refugees.

Earlier this week, an explosive device was set off against an armored Egyptian army vehicle in the Al-Arish area in Sinai. Its shrapnel hit 7 Egyptian soldiers.