16 soldiers killed in Egypt-Gaza border attack
Cairo (Alshahid)-Sixteen Egyptian army border guards were killed and seven others injured in an attack by unknown militants at a checkpoint along the border with Gaza and Israel, the first such attack on troops months after Mohammed Mursi took over as the country’s President.
The attack took place around yesterday’s sunset in the Egyptian border town of Rafah, when the troops were having the traditional meal at the end of the daily fast during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
Egyptian state TV said the attack on the checkpoint was carried out by militants. The report said 16 troops were killed in the attack co-ordinated between Palestinians who entered Egypt from Gaza and Egyptians in Sinai.
Emergency services official Ahmed el-Ansari told Egypt’s news agency that seven were wounded by gunfire.
President Morsi convened an emergency meeting with military and security leaders following the attack. In a statement, he declared: “Those who carried out this crime will pay dearly.”
In an interview on Egyptian state TV early today Mr Morsi said: “There is no room for appeasing this treason, this aggression and criminality. The troops will totally control Sinai.”
The Israeli military’s top spokesman, Yoav Mordechai, told army radio: “We were ready because we had previous information from Shin Bet (security service) and from military intelligence services, which allowed us to thwart a bloody attack.”
Hamas authority in Gaza had dismissed the idea that militants from the Palestinian territory may have been involved.
A Hamas statement said: “We condemn this ugly crime in which Egyptian soldiers were killed, and send our condolences to the families of the victims, and to the Egyptian leadership and the Egyptian people.”