Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi spoke on Tuesday, June 6, in the wake of the terrorist attack along the Sinai border that killed three IDF soldiers. El-Sisi extended his “deepest condolences” over the incident, and Netanyahu thanked the Egyptian leader for agreeing to a “thorough and joint investigation,” according to an Israeli readout of the call.
“The two leaders expressed their commitment to continue strengthening the peace and security cooperation that is vital to both countries,” added the statement.
The terrorist who killed three Israeli soldiers over the weekend has been identified as Mohamed Salah Ibrahim. Ibrahim, 22, was drafted into the Egyptian military last June and stationed along the Israeli border as a police officer. He had complained repeatedly about his military service and recently went absent without leave for 18 days.
Ibrahim shot dead Sgt. Lia Ben-Nun, 19, and Staff Sgt. Uri Iluz, 20, overnight on Friday, June 2, while they were manning an observation post near the border. During the subsequent manhunt, Staff Sgt. Ohad Dahan, 20, was killed in Israeli territory in an exchange of fire with the terrorist, who was also fatally shot. A fourth Israeli soldier was lightly wounded.
A preliminary investigation found that Ibrahim crossed the border through an emergency gate used by IDF soldiers in coordination with Cairo. Egypt had claimed he had crossed the border to chase drug smugglers in the aftermath of an earlier bust.
However, Israel’s Army Radio reported on Sunday that the Egyptian policeman had in his possession six magazines for his rifle, a Koran and a knife. The IDF believes that the presence of the Koran suggests that Ibrahim was motivated by Islamic religious extremism, the report said.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Galant and Egyptian Defense Minister Maj. Gen. Mohamed Ahmed Zaki had previously agreed to cooperate in investigating the attack.