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Egyptian soldier killed in fire exchange with Israeli soldiers on Gaza border

Incident further endangers the already deeply strained relationship

File photo - Egyptian soldiers stand guard on the border between Egypt and the southern Gaza Strip, near Rafah, August 6, 2012. (Photo: REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa)

An Egyptian soldier was killed in an exchange of fire with Israeli soldiers at the Rafah crossing on the Gaza-Egypt border, the Egyptian army confirmed on Monday.

The incident further endangers the already deeply strained relationship between the two neighboring countries that have been at peace with each other since 1979.

“The Egyptian Armed Forces are conducting an investigation through the competent authorities regarding a shooting incident in the border area in Rafah, which led to the martyrdom of one of the personnel,” the Egyptian military wrote on 𝕏.

The IDF confirmed in a statement: “A few hours ago there was a shooting incident on the Egyptian border, the [incident] is under investigation; dialogue is taking place with the Egyptian side.”

A political source told Ynet News it was “an unfortunate incident that is under investigation.” Senior officials in Israel and Egypt were in contact to exchange evidence.

Egyptian officials told the Qatari news channel Al-Arabi that the shooting “started from the Israeli side,” while IDF officials told Israeli media that Egyptian soldiers began shooting at an IDF soldier passing by.

In addition to the Egyptian soldier who was killed, several others were injured. The Israeli soldiers did not suffer any casualties, according to reports.

Tuesday morning, Army Radio reported that the Israeli army has clear documentation of the incident, showing the Egyptian soldier opening close-range fire from an observation post on the border at an Israeli force accompanied by an Armored Personnel Carrier (APC).

According to Kan News, the incident occurred at 11:30 in the morning, when an IDF engineering force was engaged in an activity in a tunnel on the Philadelphi Route near the border.

IDF soldiers who secured the engineers returned fire with a machine gun mounted on the APC, killing the Egyptian soldier.

Army Radio also reported that the video may also be transferred to the Egyptian side as part of the joint investigation.

Israel stands behind the actions of the soldiers of the 401st Brigade since they carried out "shooting to remove a threat."

According to the report, both Israel and Egypt are trying to keep the incident quiet, and there is a common understanding that both sides want to stop the incident from further damaging relations.

Following the IDF's capture of the Rafah border crossing earlier this month, the Egyptian government declined an Israeli proposal to coordinate the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza and stopped aid transfers through the crossing.

Entry of IDF combat forces of Division 401 into the Gazan side of the Rafah crossing border, May 7, 2024. (Photo: IDF)

Relations between Israel and Egypt have been deteriorating for several years and have worsened significantly since Oct. 7 and Israel's war against Hamas terrorists in Gaza.

Earlier on Monday, the Egyptian government accused Israel of deliberately bombing refugee tents and demanded Israeli forces “implement the measures ordered by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) concerning an immediate cessation of military operations” in Rafah.

Egypt has consistently opposed an Israeli incursion into Rafah, as well as the IDF's capture of the Philadelphi Corridor running along the Egypt-Gaza border, which has reportedly been one of the main routes used by Hamas for smuggling weapons through underground tunnels.

A recent report by CNN claimed Egypt was responsible for the failure of the hostage negotiation deal at the beginning of May which led to increased tensions between Israel and the United States.

In addition, several recent incidents have shown a deep enmity that large parts of Egyptian society continue to harbor toward Israel.

Earlier this month, a Jewish businessman was shot dead by gunmen in the Egyptian city of Alexandria in a suspected terror incident. Two Israeli tourists were murdered by a policeman in another terror attack in the same city last year on Oct. 8.

Several months earlier, another policeman infiltrated Israeli territory and killed three soldiers before he was eliminated hours later.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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