Both militaries say shooting is under investigation

Egyptian soldier killed in clash with Israeli troops at Rafah Crossing

High-level Egyptian source quoted saying incident triggered by gunfire 'between Israeli forces and members of the Palestinian resistance'

IDF troops on the Gazan side of the Rafah border crossing on May 7, 2024. (Israel Defense Forces)

An Egyptian soldier was killed in a clash with Israeli soldiers near the Rafah Border Crossing in the southern Gaza Strip on Monday, the countries’ militaries said, in an incident that threatened the already strained ties between the nations.

The circumstances of the cross-border shooting were not immediately clear, and it was unknown which side opened fire first. There were no casualties among Israeli forces.

The Israel Defense Forces described the incident as “a shooting incident” on the border.

“There was a shooting incident on the Egyptian border; the [incident] is under investigation, [and] dialogue is taking place with the Egyptian side,” the IDF said.

The spokesperson for Egypt’s military said it was carrying out an investigation “into the shooting incident in the border area in Rafah, which led to the martyrdom of one of the [security] personnel.”

The Egyptian statement did not mention Israel.

Troops of the Givati Brigade operate in southern Gaza’s Rafah, in an image cleared for publication on May 26, 2024. (Israel Defense Forces)

The Ynet news site and Army Radio quoted unnamed Israeli military sources blaming Egypt for the deadly exchange of fire.

According to the reports, Egyptian forces opened fire first on Israeli troops at the Rafah Border Crossing, who responded with fire of their own.

On Monday evening, citing a preliminary investigation, a high-level source told Egypt’s state-linked Al Qahera News that the was triggered by an exchange of gunfire “between Israeli forces and members of the Palestinian resistance, which led to shooting in several directions.”

The source said Egypt will take necessary measures to prevent the incident from recurring, and has warned against compromising the security and safety of its security forces.

The crossing had been operated by the Palestinians on its Gaza side until Israeli forces captured the area as part of a broader operation in Rafah launched earlier this month.

The IDF pushed into Rafah in what it initially described as a pinpoint operation against Hamas in the eastern part of the city.

The IDF has been mostly operating at the Rafah Crossing and along more than half of the so-called Philadelphi Corridor, the border area separating Egypt and Gaza.

The operation in Rafah, which the military asserts is Hamas’s last major stronghold, has since expanded deeper into the eastern districts of the city.

Egypt had previously warned Israel against operating in the city in the southern Gaza Strip ahead of the offensive.

After the IDF took control of the Gazan side of the Rafah Crossing on May 7, Egypt halted the delivery of humanitarian aid to the Strip, to ostensibly not be perceived as complicit with Israel’s military operation.

On Sunday, Egypt resumed aid deliveries via the Kerem Shalom Crossing on the tri-border area between Israel, Gaza, and Egypt.

The shooting on the border came as Israel faced international condemnation over an airstrike in southern Gaza’s Rafah late Sunday, which targeted two senior Hamas officials, but also reportedly killed dozens of Palestinian civilians.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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