Said Phashpashe, 36, from Haifa, a civilian working on the Israel-Egypt security fence, was killed Monday in a terror attack on the southern border. Golani soldiers who were scrambled to the area engaged the cell, killing two terrorists.
The IDF said that the terrorists targeted two vehicles used by defense contractor crews building the new border fence. The attack included the use of an RPG rocket, explosives and artillery fire.
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The incident took place on the border's "dune sector," in proximity of Nahal Lavan ("White Stream"), which runs through the area.
The surrounding communities were placed on high alert, fearing terrorists may have infiltrated the fence. Security forces canvassed the area for several hours, eventually lifting the warning at noon.
IDF spokesman Brigadier-General Yoav Mordechai confirmed that the bodies of two terrorists were recovered.
Roadblock set up near the scene (Photo: Ilana Curiel)
The IDF further refuted abduction rumors, saying that the cell that attacked the work-crews failed to abduct any civilians.
A military source said that the IDF had no intelligence indicating an imminent threat and that it was highly likely that the attack was launched from Gaza – in a move indicative of the terror groups' anxiety vis-à-vis the rapid completion of the new border fence.
'Well orchestrated attack'
GOC Southern Command Major-General Tal Russo ordered a full inquiry into the incident and its initial findings derived that the attack was well orchestrated.
According to IDF sources, three terrorists crossed the border trough one of the areas that has yet to be reinforced and stalked two vehicles used by the sector's defense contractor, before attacking them.
Highway 10, heading to Kadesh Barnea (Photo: Yoav Zitun)
The IDF believes part of the terror cell remained lying in wait on the Egyptian side of the border.
The inquiry also established the initial reports of RGP fire at the crews – which luckily missed the cars – as well as the use of roadside bombs, detonated mere 30 meters from the vehicles.
Artillery fired at the vehicles caused one of them to flip over and land in a nearby ditch, killing its passenger.
According to the IDF, Golani forces deployed in the sector were at the scene within minutes and engaged the terrorists.
The gunfight caused an explosive device strapped to one of the terrorists to explode, killing him and another terrorist. It remains unclear whether a third terrorist was killed as well.
Security forces that canvassed the area found AK-47 rifles, grenades, uniforms and munitions, Brig.-Gen. Mordechai said.
The Defense Ministry announced that the victims of Monday's attack would be recognized as terror victims.
The Israel-Egypt border project currently employs 1,500 workers.
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