In an uncommon border incident currently under joint investigation, three Israeli soldiers were killed by an Egyptian security officer. Egypt has stated that the officer crossed into Israel in pursuit of drug traffickers. The Israeli military believes the incident is linked to a thwarted drug smuggling operation.
The Israeli soldiers—a man and a woman—were stationed at an isolated border location. After failing to establish radio contact, their bodies were discovered early Saturday. A subsequent search operation led to a shootout, claiming the life of a third soldier and the presumed attacker, identified as an Egyptian policeman. Another soldier was injured in the exchange.
Egyptian authorities confirmed that their security officer was chasing drug smugglers, an action that resulted in the Israeli fatalities, offering “sincere condolences” to the victims’ families. During the night operation against smugglers, the Israeli military reportedly seized contraband worth about $400,000.
The exact circumstances allowing the Egyptian officer to cross the border remain unclear. Reports suggest that the fatal exchange took place between Mount Harif and Mount Sagi in the Negev desert. A continued search for possible accomplices is underway.
Israel and Egypt, despite their “cold peace,” maintain strong cooperation on military and intelligence matters, especially in counter-terrorism. This border conflict marks a significant incident since the signing of the peace treaty between the two nations in 1979.
The area is known for frequent drug smuggling attempts despite a tall border fence installed by Israel to prevent militant activity and human trafficking. Accidental cross-border fire has previously resulted from confrontations between the Egyptian army and drug smugglers or jihadists.