PM at Kerem Shalom: Israel can only rely on itself - Jerusalem Post
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu joined Defense Minister Ehud Barak on a tour of the Kerem Shalom area Monday where a terrorist infiltration was thwarted Sunday night.
Netanyahu, near the burned out stolen Egyptian armed jeep, praised the soldiers and officers at the scene for their preparedness for the attack.
"I also want to express my sadness at the killing of the Egyptian soldiers. I think it is clear that Israel and Egypt have a joint interest in a quiet border," he said.
At the same time, Netanyahu said the failed attack proved once again that when it comes to the security of Israeli citizens, Israel "can and must rely only on itself. There is no one except the IDF and security forces of Israel that can do this, and we will continue to do so."
Earlier Monday, Barak told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committeethat that he hoped the attack would spur Egypt to take stronger action in the Sinai Peninsula.
"Perhaps this will be necessary wake-up call for the Egyptians to take matters in their hands in a more serious way," Barak said.
During a tour of the Kerem Shalom Crossing, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz said that a large disaster was averted.
In the ambitious and sophisticated attack on Sunday night, global jihad terrorists infiltrated Israel after breaking into an Egyptian military base and stealing two vehicles, including an armored jeep.
One of the vehicles, a small pickup truck, exploded as it rammed through a section of the fence near the Kerem Shalom crossing, which is shared by Israel, Egypt and the Gaza Strip. A number of terrorists succeeded in exiting the second vehicle before it was destroyed by an air strike. They crossed into Israel and engaged in a firefight with IDF troops. Eight terrorists were killed in the gunfight.
During the raid on the Egyptian base, around 15 Egyptian soldiers were killed. IDF sources said the attackers were probably Beduin residents of Sinai who were part of a larger global jihad terror cell based in the peninsula.
These are terrorists who are connected between the Gaza Strip and the Sinai, Gantz said during a tour of the border with OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Tal Russo. This was a joint operation of intelligence agencies, the Israel Air Force and the IDF infantry and armored units which worked all together and succeeded in ending the attack within 15 minutes from when it began.
Egypt condemns 'Infidels'
Egypt branded the Islamist gunmen responsible for the attack as "infidel" and promised on Monday to launch a crackdown following the massacre that strained Cairo's ties with both Israel and Palestinians.
IDF sources said the attackers were probably Beduin residents of Sinai who were part of a larger global jihad terror cell based in the peninsula.
An Egyptian official has said "Jihadist elements" crossed from the Gaza Strip into Egypt before leading the assault on a border station. They then stole two armored vehicles and tried to smash their way into Israel, but were killed by Israeli fire.
Egypt's military, which still holds many levers of power in the most populous Arab nation, called the attackers "infidels" and said it had been patient until now in the face of the instability in Sinai.
"But there is a red line and passing it is not acceptable. Egyptians will not wait for long to see a reaction to this event," it said in a statement on its Facebook page.
Egypt closed its border crossing into Gaza overnight, cutting off the sole exit route for most Palestinians at the height of the Muslim-fast month of Ramadan.
Hamas condemned the killings of the Egyptians and immediately sealed the warren of smuggling tunnels that connect Gaza with Egypt after Cairo said the gunmen had used these links to reach their territory.
Many key goods, including oil, pass through the tunnels, and a prolonged closure could stymie life in the coastal enclave.
Reuters contributed to this report