Sunday, June 4, 2023

Unknown Egyptian policeman, killed IDF soldiers and disappearing smugglers: Notes on That incident on the Egyptian-Israeli borders

On Saturday morning, an unknown Egyptian policeman killed three Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers and injured at least one other.

This is what we know for certain.

Beyond that, the truth seems to be lost, despite two official statements issued by Egypt and Israel following the incident.

This is what the IDF said in English.

Three IDF soldiers were killed today. Two soldiers were killed by live fire adjacent to the Egyptian border, and the third during an exchange of fire with an assailant in the area of the Paran Regional Brigade. An IDF NCO was also lightly injured.

The assailant is an Egyptian policeman. An investigation is being conducted in full cooperation with the Egyptian army. IDF soldiers continue searching the area to rule out the presence of any additional assailants.

The Egyptian Armed Forces finally broke their radio silence several hours after the Israeli official announcement.

At dawn on Saturday, June 3, 2023, a security personnel assigned to secure the international border line engaged in a pursuit of drug smugglers. During the pursuit, the security personnel breached the security barrier and exchanged gunfire, resulting in the death of three Israeli security personnel and the injury of two others. Additionally, the Egyptian security personnel was killed during the exchange of fire. 

All necessary searches, inspection, and security measures are being taken in the area, along with the implementation of legal procedures regarding the incident.

Our sincere condolences to the families of the deceased, and we wish a speedy recovery to the injured.

The use of the term "security personnel" to refer to the deceased Egyptian that he was a policeman, not a member of the military.

It is noteworthy that the Egyptian Armed Forces issued the statement about the incident, even though the Ministry of Interior is the agency responsible for civilian law enforcement in Egypt.

As you can see, there is a significant discrepancy between the official Israeli and Egyptian versions of events.

IDF soldier at the Egyptian-Israeli borders on the Israeli side  AFP
An IDF soldier at the Egyptian-Israeli borders on the Israeli side on Saturday 

The IDF does not mention smugglers and describes the Egyptian policeman as an "assailant," while the Egyptian Army refers to smugglers and exonerates the deceased Egyptian policeman of any wrongdoing.

According to the 1979 Egypt–Israel Peace Agreement, the area of the Oga–Natzana border crossing on the Egyptian side falls within Zone C.

Only the Egyptian police and the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) are stationed in Zone C, except for an area in North Sinai, specifically the Rafah border crossing and the surrounding region. A force of Egyptian border guards is present at the border crossing following an agreement between Egypt and Israel signed in 2005.

An amendment to the peace agreement was signed in November 2021, allowing the Egyptian army to deploy units in Rafah city for the first time since June 1967, during the country's ongoing war on terrorism.

In the rest of Zone C, only Egyptian police are allowed to carry light weapons and perform normal police duties.

In recent years, the area has seen an increase in smuggling, including of humans, mostly from South Sudan, and drugs from Egypt to Israel.

This is ironic, as Israel was historically one of the main exporters of drugs to Egypt for decades.

Too many versions in the media

The Israeli version of what happened on Saturday morning has changed significantly in the Israeli media in the past 48 hours.

Meanwhile, the mainstream Egyptian media completely ignored the matter until the Egyptian army spokesperson published his statement.

On Sunday, we learned that Israeli newspapers and websites were portraying the late Egyptian policeman as a superhero.

The IDF found a small Quran in his backpack next to his dead body. The IDF and Israeli media interpreted this as evidence that he had planned the attack in advance and was seeking to be a suicide commando.

However, it is common for Muslim conscripts, soldiers, and officers serving in border areas like the Sinai to carry a small Quran for protection.

There are many holes in the Israeli version and its timeline.

According to Israeli media reports, the Israeli soldiers were shot in the head from a distance. However, the Israeli media spoke about a military man who killed Israeli soldiers using a sniper-style weapon. As mentioned above, Egyptian policemen only carry light weapons within Zone C.

There is a viral photo that went viral of an old AK-47 that appears to be 50 years old. Some Israeli websites and social media accounts shared this photo as the weapon of the Egyptian policeman. 

The old AK-47 photo went viral in Israel and and Egypt
The old AK-47 photo went viral in Israel and
and Egypt 

I feel that it is too old to be converted into a sniper rifle. That policeman would have been an excellent marksman to shoot the three IDF soldiers in the head from a distance.

The third IDF soldier was reportedly shot from a range of 200 meters, according to Israeli media. There is also a question that looms over the official Egyptian version: "Where are the smugglers?"

There is another unofficial version that has gained traction in Egypt.

It claims that the Israeli soldiers were involved in a shady operation with the smugglers, and they were caught by the Egyptian policeman. This led to an exchange of gunfire, and the smugglers escaped.

This explanation could account for the fact that there are multiple Israeli versions of the incident, including an official one that contradicts the Egyptian version.

The IDF and truth have never been friends.

I will not go into the IDF's long history of covering up the truth, but I will point to a recent example.

It took the IDF a year to apologize for the murder of Al-Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, even though their spokespeople insisted that she was not intentionally targeted. The evidence suggests otherwise.

As for official Egypt, we still do not know who was responsible for the fire that burned Cairo in January 1952.

Let the Israeli misinformation flood social media

There is a lot of false information circulating on Israeli social media. Websites are sharing incorrect photos of young Egyptian army conscripts, claiming they are the photos of that Egyptian policeman.

One specific photo being shared is actually of a young Egyptian army conscript who was killed in a terrorist attack in North Sinai in 2015.

Later, we discovered that Israeli media had utilized a photo and a song from an aspiring Egyptian singer named Ahmed Hamda.

In the photo, he was seen wearing a military uniform and had recorded a song dedicated to the Egyptian army.

The Israeli media falsely claimed that he was the Egyptian policeman in question.

However, the young singer, Hamda, clarified that he is very much alive and not the policeman being referred to.

Furthermore, we came across an Israeli Telegram group in Egypt that shared a photo of none other than the renowned Mohamed Ramadan.

Mohamed Ramadan at some Israeli telegram group
Mohamed Ramadan at some Israeli telegram group

It's unclear whether this was intended as a joke, considering Ramadan's past history with Israel a couple of years ago.

Next, an alleged photo circulating on Israeli accounts claimed to show the Egyptian policeman dead. However, it was revealed to be the body of an Egyptian soldier who was tragically killed in an attack in November 2017 in the Al-Bahiriya Oasis.

Additionally, a viral photo supposedly depicted a cut in a barbed wire fence along the Egyptian-Israeli border went viral.

It was later discovered that this photo was actually a screenshot from a video published by the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth on November 20, 2022.

The newspaper claimed that the image showed parts of an iron fence surrounding the Kadesh Barnea settlement near the Egyptian border, where thieves had broken in and stolen SUVs.

Furthermore, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) stated that the Egyptian policeman entered Israeli territory through an emergency entry point at the border and did not cut any barbed wire fences, contrary to initial claims.

Who found those photos in Israel, and why did they decide to mislead the public?

That misinformation is another piece of evidence that something fishy is going on on the other side of the border.

The Unknown soldier

Up until now, the identity of the Egyptian policeman has yet to be officially or unofficially revealed.  His body has not been given yet to Egypt. However, we should know in the coming hours.

It will not be a secret for long, as someone in his family is likely to reveal it in some way or another on social media, especially if he is from a rural area. I believe that the Egyptian administration does not want to create another martyr figure like Suleiman Khater, but it is too late. He has already become one.

Others speculate that Cairo has not yet revealed the identity of the policeman because it has not yet concluded its investigations into his intentions. However, I believe that the investigation has already concluded. The statement of the Egyptian Army spokesperson speaks of him in a way that officially exonerates him of ill intentions.

Hashtags #egyptian_solider, #the_hero_marytr, #egypt_borders and #suleiman_khater in Arabic have been top trending all day long in Egypt.

Interestingly Twitter accounts in Egypt, from left, right and centre political backgrounds and currents, praised the action of the Egyptian policeman who protected the borders as it was his duty and got rid of intruders, whether smugglers or Israeli soldiers.

It is not a secret that despite Egypt being the first to sign a peace agreement officially with Israel, Egyptians do not have positive opinions about Israel or Israelis. The ongoing provocations and aggressions against Palestinians as well as the plans targeting Al-Aqsa Mosque do not help.

The incident comes at a very critical time. The 56th anniversary of the Six-Day War was two days away. Many Egyptians still regard what happened then as the worst defeat in their modern history, caused by the 1952 coup military.

In addition to the difficult economic situation in Egypt, I believe many Egyptians see that Egypt is losing its position as a leading regional political power to the growing powers of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The incident brought back to Egyptians the memory of Suleiman Khater, as well as the less famous Ayman Hassan.

Hassan crossed the borders in November 1990 and killed at least four IDF officers and injured 27 others in retaliation for the Black Monday massacre at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in October 1990.

The border guard was sentenced to 12 years in a military court, which he served, and is now a free man.

Ironically this incident will make it harder for Netanyahu's administration. He could not protect the Southern borders when he speaks about Iran. 

Hopefully, we will know who that policeman was for the sake of the truth that seemed to once again to lost in the Middle East. 


  1. There is one solution to that quandary that could fit the stories on both sides: that the policeman killed wasn't the man who killed the 2 first Israeli. A pair of 200 m headshots (and I understand from the IDF blurb that these were shot at night) means a pretty good marksman with a really good gun, certainly not an old AK, and maybe even some kind of night vision scope. The policeman and the third IDF soldier killed might then be just the result of the confusion and tension at the border (one side looking for smuggler and the other side for assassins).

    1. Do you know that I began to think about this possibility thanks to the Israeli newspapers reports ??

  2. Egypt don't know what really happened and can't know what really happen.


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