The shrapnel scattered about after the IDF detonated the device indicated its lethalness.
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"The bomb was meant to hurt people, and its long-distance activation mechanism would have allowed it to be detonated safely by the terrorist," an officer from the army's elite combat engineering unit said. "If the explosive was activated in a mall, a bus, a town or near an IDF unit, we would have been dealing with a different kind of story."
Remnants of detonated device (Photo: Yaron Brener)
According to the preliminary investigation, the belt was hidden in a bag that was thrown over the border from the Egyptian side into Israel. An elite force that was laying in ambush detected the terrorist, who escaped back into Sinai.
Large IDF forces were deployed to the scene, closed off the area and used robotic equipment to study the bomb from afar. It was then detonated in a controlled environment. When the troops studied the aftermath they discovered a cell phone meant for the bomb's remote activation.
Escalation at Egypt border
The IDF is looking into the possibility that the bomb originated in Gaza, and travelled to Israel through Rafah and Sinai.
In the months after the multiple terror attack near Eilat in August, activity around the Israel-Egypt border has altered considerably. Multiple terror warnings have caused the Egyptian troops to reposition their posts, and no night passes without the soldiers exchanging fire with drug and weapon smugglers and African refugees aiming to infiltrate the border. Several of the Egyptian troops have been injured and killed in the clashes.
Israeli troops, who often witness the incidents, avoid intervening due to protocols that forbid them to open fire towards the Egyptian side unless they are targeted.
The army has begun paving an alternative route for IDF use parallel to the border-adjacent Highway 10, which is more exposed to attacks. The latter is to be used only for unavoidable operational activity.
The army has also replaced its vehicles in the region with armored ones. Dozens of trackers have been stationed in the area, and armored personnel carriers have been placed at posts along the border.
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