The IDF named the three soldiers killed by an Egyptian policeman earlier in the day as Lia Ben-Nun (19), Ohad Dahan (20), and Ori Itzhak Ilouz.
Ben-Nun and Itzhak Ilouz served in the co-ed infantry Bardelas Battalion, which trains both male and female combat soldiers to maintain the security of the Arava Region, stretching from the Dead Sea to Eilat. They were killed at a guard post near the border fence with Egypt, by gunfire from an Egyptian police officer who infiltrated Israeli territory.
Dahan, from Ofakim, was killed later during the fire exchanges in which the terrorist was shot dead.
This week, Lia uploaded a video to TikTok in which she shared her experiences from her service in the IDF, alongside her friends who served with her at the base. She described it as follows: "I wasn't happy with the assignment to the battalion, but I tried to continue. I was chosen to be a marksman, and I was the happiest person in the world even though I wanted to be a combat commander. Every week was a new journey, and my body was already broken, but for the first time, I felt appreciated, and in the end, I fell in love. I enjoyed it to the fullest and gained so many experiences. Celebrating at the base wasn't that bad. Friends for life, good luck to us in the sniper course."
The IDF stated that Dahan, who served as a Border Patrol soldier in Caracal Battalion, was part of the force that searched for the terrorist and located the bodies of Ben-Nun and the other soldier who was killed with her. "Staff Sergeant Ohad Dahan, may he rest in peace, was killed during the exchange of fire with the terrorist," it was reported. "The soldiers and commanders of the force made contact, fired, and killed the terrorist."
The southern front and the long border are plagued with numerous smuggling attempts, which are usually the main activities of the soldiers stationed there. Last night, there was such an incident, and it is still unclear if there is any connection between the thwarted smuggling attempt and the deadly shooting incident.
At 02:30 at night, the IDF force intercepted a drug smuggling attempt valued at approximately 1.5 million shekels, located three kilometers north of the scene of the morning incident. The operation involved gunfire and the use of ladders. The drugs were seized by the soldiers and handed over to the police.
At the time, Lia and Itzhak Ilouz with her were in a guard post near Mount Harif, located in the Negev Desert, for a 12-hour shift which started at 21:00 the night before, and the IDF estimates that they were fired upon separately outside the post.
In the morning, when the two did not respond to the radio calls, IDF troops were dispatched to their location and found them around 8:00, lifeless with gunshot wounds. The terrorist was identified during subsequent searches, and IDF forces managed to kill him after a fire exchange.
The IDF further stated that no prior alert was issued for such an event, and the searches are ongoing: "We are fully prepared to carry out the searches, and there are no more terrorists. We will investigate how the terrorist infiltrated our territory."
In light of the incident, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant held a situation assessment with IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi and other security officials. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is being continuously updated on the details of the event.
First published: 19:19, 06.03.23