(Communicated by the IDF Spokesman)
During the night IDF forces identified a terrorist cell of three people approaching the Israeli-Egyptian border near Rafah, with the clear aim of planting explosive devices against IDF forces patrolling the border. An IDF force opened fire towards the suspicious figures, but did not confirm hitting them. Later, the IDF received claims that three Egyptian policemen that had been hit by IDF fire.
Following an initial inquiry into the incident, it appears that there were operational and professional errors that occurred due to a misidentification of the three figures, which resulted in three Egyptian policemen being hit. It should be noted that the Egyptian policemen were very close to the border on the other side of the fence.
The IDF has expressed its sorrow to the Egyptians regarding this event, and has offered all necessary aid and assistance. The IDF has initiated a thorough investigation into the circumstances of the aforementioned events, which is being delayed at this stage until the neutralization of the explosive devices planted by the terrorists near the entry path to an IDF post.
It should be noted that this region is characterized by frequent terrorist attacks against IDF forces and Israeli communities nearby, as well as by infiltration attempts and weapons smuggling into Israel to and from Egypt.
Since the beginning of October 2004, Palestinian terror operatives have attempted to detonate around 10 explosive devices against IDF forces and launch more then 10 anti-tank rockets at IDF forces along the Israeli-Egyptian border near Rafah. In addition, Palestinian gunmen have fired at IDF forces on dozens of occasions, a weapons-smuggling tunnel has been uncovered in the area, and IDF forces have identified about five infiltration attempts.