20 Armed Men Clash with Israeli Soldiers at Egypt Border – BREAKING

Israeli soldiers near the Egypt-Israel border area following a deadly incident last June. (Photo: Video Grab, file)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

The Israeli military said early Tuesday that a soldier was wounded in an armed clash near the Al-Awja border crossing with Egypt.

Earlier, an Israeli army spokesman said the army had fired on militants in the border area near the Nitzana (Awja) crossing.

The spokesman added that the clashes resulted in injuries, noting that about 20 suspects, including gunmen, arrived from Egypt to the border area.

Israel’s Channel 7 reported unusual exchanges of fire on the border with Egypt.

Later, the Israeli Army Radio claimed that the suspects were trying to smuggle drugs into Israel.

Palestinian accounts on the X platform quoted Israeli media as saying that militants were killed, and Israeli soldiers wounded in the clashes.

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Egypt’s Al Qahira news channel quoted a security source as saying that Egyptian forces had thwarted an attempt to smuggle drugs on the Egyptian Israeli border.

Egyptian forces said that they arrested six ‘drug traffickers’ south of the Al-Awja border crossing, known in Israel as the Nitzana crossing.

The shooting took place near the Al-Awja crossing in the same area where an operation by Egyptian policeman Mohamed Salah killed three Israeli soldiers in June.

Though both sides seem to agree to the drug smuggling theory, possibly not to raise tension in an already tense area, questions arose from the timing and the nature of the incident.

Rarely do drug smugglers move in such large numbers in that region, and specifically try to infiltrate from a highly monitored border region like Al-Awja.

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Arab commentators told Al-Jazeera that this type of well-coordinated operation indicates the involvement of a large militant group, or groups, many of whom operate in the Sinai region.

They directly linked the incident to the ongoing Israeli war on Gaza.

Since the first days of the war, Israel has repeatedly shelled the border wall between Rafah and Egypt, forcing the latter to shut down the border completely in the face of Palestinian movement.

Moreover, the Israeli military opened fire at Egyptian border positions, claiming that such attacks were unintentional.

Tensions brewed as Israel threatened to occupy the Philadelphia route between Rafah, in southern Gaza, and Egypt, alleging that Hamas uses underground tunnels to smuggle weapons.

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Egypt denies such allegations, stressing that all tunnels have already been destroyed.

Palestinians, and others accuse Israel of using the alleged tunnels with Egypt as a pretense to justify reoccupying the area, where over a million Palestinian have been pushed there following Israeli war, which killed tens of thousands of Palestinian civilians.

Israeli officials have been open about wanting to displace Palestinians out of the Strip. Some Israeli officials, including rightwing Israeli Prime Minister, refer to this kind of ethnic cleansing as ‘voluntary migration.’

(The Palestine Chronicle)

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