The IDF Blog summarizes:
Global jihad terrorists in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula stormed an Egyptian military post near the town of Rafah last night, killing more than 15 Egyptian soldiers and capturing an armored personnel carrier (APC) and a truck filled with explosives.An IDF spokesman is quoted as saying that five of the terrorists were killed in Israel.
The two vehicles then headed toward Israel. The truck exploded at the Israel-Egypt border. The APC entered Israeli territory with four terrorists inside. It was then targeted by the Israel Air Force.
The IDF Spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, stated:
“The IDF is ruling out the possibility a soldier is missing or was abducted.”
Brig. Gen. Mordechai stressed that no Israeli injuries were reported as a result of the attack.
From Al Ahram:
An Egyptian security source has told Ahram Online that the army helicopters, with the help of army rangers, are attempting to apprehend suspects in the blast that killed 16 soldiers and injured seven earlier on Sunday evening.Apparently, placing Gaza under siege is allowed when terrorists from that sector are considered a danger.
The source added that army units, as of the early hours of Monday, have completely surrounded the city of Rafah (on the Egypt side of the Egypt-Gaza) border to prevent suspects from escaping.
An anonymous Egyptian security official was quoted by Egypt's state-run news agency, MENA, as saying that Islamist elements who infiltrated Egypt from the Gaza Strip through tunnels are behind the attacks, along with other Islamists situated in the areas of El-Halal Mountain and El-Mahdia in eastern Sinai.
Infuriated at the incident, hundreds of Rafah residents (on the Egyptian side of the Egypt-Gaza border) gathered at the Sadat Square and blocked the road, preventing trucks heading to the port of Rafah and tunnels leading to the Gaza Strip.
Some of the protesters told Al-Ahram's Arabic news portal that they refuse seeing the Egyptian army insulted, and that they would sacrifice their blood "to defend the Egyptian soldiers."
Oh, wait, that can't be the rule. Hold on....Here it is:
Apparently, placing Gaza under siege is allowed when terrorists from that sector are considered a danger to trained Egyptian soldiers, not when they endanger innocent Israeli civilians.
There ya go.
UPDATE: Here's part of a transcript from an IDF spokesperson:
20:00 last night, we identified a group of terrorists which infiltrated an Egyptian base, took over two vehicles – a truck and an armored vehicle (APC). They also killed approximately 15 Egyptian security personnel and loaded the truck with explosives. They then stormed the border fence between Israel and Egypt at Kerem Shalom. It's not far from Kibbutz Kerem Shalom, with hundreds of Israelis living in it, and also not far from the Kerem Shalom supplies crossing.
The truck exploded after storming the border fence – I suppose they wanted to target some soldiers or a security post. It was a very large explosion. We targeted the second vehicle from the air (the APC); we hit it once from the air, and since we could still identify movement there we fired from the air again.
All in all, we targeted 5 terrorists – four in the APC, one driving the truck, all infiltrating into Israel. We assume they wanted to kidnap Israelis or reach one of the houses in the region. Mind you, there are around 10,000 Israelis living in that area.
We had some prior intel about this kind of attack. Three days ago we published an announcement asking Israelis to refrain from going to Sinai due to security threats. At the moment we're not able to pin down the affiliation of the terrorists in the group. There are some possibilities due to connections between organizations in the Sinai area, but at the moment we're not 100% sure.
Sinai has become a no-land's land quite a few months ago. There are several terror organizations loose in the region. We need to wait a bit in order to confirm the exact affiliation of the terrorists acting.
The infiltration was initially in the Rafah area. As you know Rafah was divided into two – the Egypt area and the Israeli area. The vehicle came from Rafah to Kerem Shalom We found large amounts of weapons: explosive belts, magazines and ammo, flak jackets. It's clear that a lethal attack was prevented here.
There were a lot of inaccuracies in the beginning: where did we attack? On the Egyptian side or Israeli side? I want to emphasize that the vehicle was targeted only after it crossed into Israel. There were also no tanks involved, although some people spreading rumors may have confused the APC for a tank. Overall there was exaggerated info about the Israeli Air Force targeting – heavy rocket fire and so forth – the main explosions were from the APC itself, which exploded near Kerem Shalom, and not from the firepower of the strikes.
UPDATE 2/3: Former Egyptian presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi charges that Israel bombed the APC in Egyptian territory, and he condemned it. Of course, he is lying.
Hamas spokesperson Abu Marzouk blames Israel for the attack, as do other Gaza leaders and "analysts." And Hamas' Palestine Times quotes the experts on Facebook to come to the same conclusion!
UPDATE 4: The IDF unit that helped track and stop the terrorists is mostly Bedouin:
Lt. Col. Wahid Al-Huzeil, commander of the Desert Reconnaissance Battalion which participated in thwarting last night's attempted terror attack, explained today (Monday, August 6) that his forces were prepared in advance of the attempt.(h/t al-Gharqad)
"We realized that there was an incident and we arrived on the scene," he recounted. "We were prepared at the site and identified a vehicle that had exploded at the crossing. We tried to capture the second armored vehicle, and during the operation, the Desert Reconnaissance Battalion worked with the armored forces and the Air Force."
"Ultimately, we succeeded in capturing the vehicle, eliminating the terrorists, and preventing them from harming our forces or innocent civilians," he added.
In 2008, Lt. Col. Al-Huzeil received a citation from the Chief of Staff for successful activity in the same area, then as a deputy battalion commander. In that incident, he led his forces in preventing a complex attack in which three booby-trapped vehicles approached the Kerem Shalom crossing.