Aerial view Photo courtesy of the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit
Ground view Photo: IDF
Watch: IAF strikes Sinai terror cell
IDF releases footage of aerial strike on Sinai terrorists' vehicle as it attempts to breach border. Initial inquiry reveals cell came within 2km of Israeli communities. Gunmen's bodies returned to Egypt
said that 35 terrorists took part in the ambush.
The early hours of the morning revealed the bodies of four terrorists on the Israeli side of the border and three others on the Egyptian side of the fence.
transferred the remains of the terrorists killed in Sunday's attack near the Kerem Shalom border crossing to Egypt. The charred remains of the armored vehicle struck by the IAF as it was attempting to breach the border, was also returned to Egypt.
Following the attack, Egypt deployed at least two helicopter gunships to the Sinai Peninsula in the hunt for terrorists.
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi
visited the scene of the attack and according to Egyptian media, Cairo's military has "completely surrounded" the city of Rafah
as part of the effort to apprehend suspects in the terror attack.
Also on Monday, the Foreign Ministry conveyed Israel's condolences to Egypt over the terror attack.
"Peace between the counties is, and always has been, a vital interest to both nations. Israel will continue to collaborate with Egypt in order to bolster regional security," the ministry said.
Intelligence indicated combined attack
A GOC Southern Command inquest into the events of Sunday night derived that the IDF had intelligence indicating an imminent threat of terror from the sector, including a Shin Bet alert suggesting that Sinai terror groups were planning a combined attack against Israeli and Egyptian forces.
The Southern Command ordered its Armored, Engineering and Infantry troops on high alert, bolstered by Air Force deployment in the area.
The forces were alerted to a possible breach of the border minutes before the terrorist vehicle crossed the fence, following intelligence indicating that an Egyptian border patrol post had been surrounded.
The information suggested that dozens of gunmen were storming the post and that an armored vehicle had been seized.
Transfer of the terrorists' remains (Photo: Yoav Zitun)
The vehicle in question is one IDF forces are used to seeing as part of the Egyptians' regular border patrols. On Sunday night, it was paving the way for a truck loaded with half a ton of explosives.
Both vehicles were making their way to Gate 380 – an inactive border crossing close to the wall surrounding the Kerem Shalom crossing.
According to the sequence of events, the armored vehicle barged through the first set of concrete barricades but the truck was unable to do so. At this point, apparently disoriented, the terrorists veered towards the route parallel to Highway 10 in southern Israel, instead of heading east, to the nearby Israeli communities.
According to the IDF, troops scrambled to the area engaged the terrorists, but armored vehicles are meant to withstand such fire. The terrorists then veered towards Route 232, the Gaza vicinity area's main highway. Some 50 meters on another IDF force engaged the terrorists, this time with machine guns, but the vehicle carried on.
At this point the truck bomb exploded near an abandoned military pillbox adjacent to the Kerem Shalom crossing, while the terrorist vehicle forged on through more IDF fire.
Charred remains of the armored vehicle (Photo: Eliad Levy)
Next, the IAF scrambled aircraft to the area, while the GOC Southern Command mobilized a tank near kibbutz Sufa, to block any further advancement. Several tanks were mobilized as well to circle the vehicle from the rear, creating a vise.
As the troops closed in on the vehicle, two of the terrorists opened fire at their surrounding, but luckily no injuries were reported.
IDF tank fire followed, setting the vehicle ablaze. Two of the eight terrorists in the armored vehicle were killed by Paratroopers' fire.
Simultaneously, IDF forces were deployed along various routes in the area, to ward off any potential terrorist infiltration of the Israeli communities.
The IDF added that the terrorists were found to be in possession of explosive vests.
GOC Southern Command engineers have begun mending the breached area of the fence and should be finished in the next few days.
Roi Kais and Attila Somfalvi contributed to this report