In a firefight near Israel’s southern border with Border Police forces, one smuggler is killed as large smuggling operation was foiled with dozens of kilograms of drugs and vehicle seized.
• No injuries were reported among Israeli security personnel.
By Gadi Golan
Border Police thwarted a drug smuggling operation near the Israel-Egypt border overnight. One smuggler was killed during a firefight that erupted during the operation. No injuries were reported among the Israeli troops.
According to available details, the Israeli troops, following a lead provided by the Negev and Border Intelligence Unit on an impending drug smuggling operation, deployed in the northern part of the border.
The troops identified some 30 smugglers moving on the Egyptian side of the border toward the fence. The smugglers placed ladders against the fence and began throwing bags over it, which according to intelligence contained drugs. At this point, four vehicles were spotted on the Israeli side of the border, racing toward the fence.
The vehicles stopped near the border and four suspects came out and began collecting the bags. The troops engaged the suspects and came under fire by smugglers on both sides of the border. The Israeli troops returned fire, and Egyptian troops engaged the smugglers on their side of the border.
The smugglers then fled the area. The Israeli troops were able to seize one of the vehicles, finding dozens of kilograms of drugs inside.
An hour after the incident, Magen David Adom emergency services paramedics were called to the nearby Tze’elim Base, after a man suffering from gunshot wounds was found on its outer perimeter. He was rushed to a nearby hospital but was pronounced dead soon after being admitted.
The police believe the man sustained his wounds during the border-adjacent gunfight and was left near the base by the other smugglers. He was most likely shot accidentally by the Egyptian smugglers, the police said.
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