JERUSALEM, Israel – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called on Egypt to conduct a "thorough and exhaustive" investigation of the deadly incident Saturday during which an Egyptian policeman crossed into Israel and killed three Israeli soldiers over a period of several hours.
Israel Defense Forces (IDF) authorities say the gunman was killed in a shootout with Israeli soldiers. He had been armed with an AK-47. Two of the dead soldiers were shot in their border guard post in what the IDF said was a drug smuggling operation.
“The incident on the border was severe and out of the ordinary and will be investigated to the end,” Netanyahu said as he opened Sunday's cabinet meeting. “Israel sent a clear message to the Egyptian government: We expect the joint investigation to be exhaustive and thorough.”
Israel's border with Egypt has been relatively quiet since the 1979 peace agreement signed by the two nations.
The 3 soldiers killed – a woman and two men – were identified as Sergeant Lia Bin-Nun, Staff Sergeant Yitzhak Illouz and Staff Sergeant Ohad Dahan.
Netanyahu sent condolences to the soldier's families and promised, “We will refresh the rules, the operational methods and also the means to minimize smuggling and ensure tragic attacks like this won’t occur again,” he said.
Galei Tzahal radio station reported that the terrorist was armed with a knife to cut zip ties joining gates at the border, and he had 6 weapons magazines, indicating a high level of planning. He also carried a copy of the Koran.
Noam Dahan, a cousin of one of the victims, Ohad Dahan, told FM 103.7 Radio, "I can't believe I'm talking about him in the past tense. I have no words to describe what type of person he was, what kind of kid he was. He was good at anything he did. He was always happy, funny, and frivolous. He had a saying he would always say, 'I'm silly, I want to stay young forever."