The terrorists who smashed into Israel at the Kerem Shalom border crossing on Sunday night managed to drive about a mile into Israel, and were traveling at 70 kilometers an hour along the road toward Kibbutz Kerem Shalom, before the Israeli Air Force was able to get a clear shot and blow up their armored vehicle without risk to civilian traffic on the road or nearby.
That was one of the findings of the IDF’s initial investigation into what officials said Monday was a very carefully planned and complex terror attack.
The Shin Bet intelligence service on Friday gave the army a general warning of the danger of an attack at the Kerem Shalom crossing, two days before the terror cell — apparently comprised of Bedouin and other gunmen from the Sinai Peninsula, with close links to and possible participation of Gaza-based terrorists — launched the attack that left 16 Egyptian soldiers dead and penetrated the Israeli border.
GOC Southern Command Maj. Gen. Tal Russo visited the Kerem Shalom crossing a few hours before the attack, and ordered a guard tower next to the crossing to be closed as troops braced for the terrorists to make their move. Residents of the area, including Kibbutz Kerem Shalom, were ordered to stay in their homes, with doors locked and lights off.
Initial army investigations of the incident described a coordinated defensive response to the attempted terrorist attack involving the IDF’s ground, armored, and air forces.
Troops stationed at Kerem Shalom border crossing heard gunfire as the terrorists attacked the Egyptian border police position and then discerned the armored vehicle, commandeered from the base, and a truck approaching the border from a distance of two kilometers.
Bedouin reconnaissance unit troops stationed on the border were the first to engage the vehicles after the armored vehicle began bypassing concrete barriers situated along the border road. The soldiers fired on the armored vehicle but failed to hinder its approach to the Kerem Shalom crossing.
An additional army force started firing on the armored vehicle with heavier weaponry. Simultaneously, the truck crashed into a guard tower, detonating half a ton of explosive material.
IDF tanks closed in on the armored vehicle, but the terrorists commandeering the vehicle accelerated away. At that point the IDF decided to bomb the hijacked armored vehicle from the air — marking the first time that an IAF aircraft fired on a target inside Israel. The IAF had to wait until the road was clear of civilian traffic.
One of the tanks fired an additional two rounds at the armored vehicle, blowing it up.
Barak noted the eight terrorists killed by Israeli forces were armed with suicide belts and could have wreaked terrible harm inside Israel.
An interesting point which struck me was that the first IDF soldiers to spot the vehicles were the IDF’s renowned Bedouin trackers, yet the terrorists included Bedouins amongst them. Commenter Cormac on the previous thread mentioned that in his experience the Bedouin are not as brainwashed with antisemitism as other Muslims, and this is born out by yesterday’s events, with Bedouins as active protagonists on both sides.
The other salient point of this report is the extraordinary accuracy of the IAF’s fire, and the care taken by the entire IDF not to harm civilians. Kol hakavod to them all, and may their success continue.
As PM Binyamin Netanyahu said,
“I appreciate that this will not be the last time that we come across attempts to harm us. … I hope that we will have many more successes of this type, but we must also stay vigilant for the opposite.”
Meanwhile, just in case you were wondering who the real culprits of this attack were, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood can provide the answer: It was the Mossad wot dun it.
Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood said on its website that the attack on a police station in Sinai on Sunday in which 16 policemen were killed “can be attributed to Mossad” and was an attempt to thwart Islamist President Mohamed Morsi’s new regime.
The statement claimed that the Israeli intelligence agency was trying to hinder the Egyptian uprising that toppled president Hosni Mubarak in 2011 and that it was “imperative to review clauses” of the 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel.
Where would the Middle East be without its conspiracy theories?