Israeli forces broke up a major smuggling operation overnight Sunday at the Israel-Egypt border. The smugglers tried twice to bring illicit cargo and goods into Israel. A major gun battle erupted between Israeli Special Forces and the smugglers, who eventually retreated back into Sinai, leaving some of their illegal goods behind.
In the operation, Israeli forces identified at least 30 Egyptian smugglers who approached the border and placed ladders along the border fence. They ascended the ladders and began throwing bags over it, onto the Israeli side. Forces detected at least four Israeli vehicles in the area, which were apparently to be used to transport the bags into Israel.
When individuals emerged from the vehicles to gather the bags, Israeli forces emerged into the open and began arresting individuals on the Israeli side and confiscating the contraband. At that point the forces were subjected to massive gunfire from the Egyptian side. Israeli forces returned fire, hitting several targets on the Egyptian side of the border. After several minutes, Egyptian police arrived on the scene and attacked the smugglers. Israeli officials believe that at least one individual on the Egyptian side was killed.
Israeli officials said that they would continue to act to prevent illegal smuggling and work to break up the Israeli gangs that work with Egyptian smugglers.