Skip to main content

Egypt-Israel border tensions simmer following drug smuggling incident

Armed clashes near the Egyptian-Israeli border coincide with reports of Israel’s plan to take over a buffer zone between Egypt and Gaza.
Israeli and Egyptian flags are seen at the Nitzana border crossing along the southern Israeli border with Egypt near the Israeli village of Nitzanei, Sinai Peninsula, Aug. 20, 2013.

As tensions in the region sparked by the monthslong Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip are escalating, armed clashes erupted near the border between Egypt and Israel in the Sinai Peninsula, leaving one person dead.

Egyptian security forces exchanged fire with suspected drug smugglers south of al-Awja border crossing, known in Israel as the Nitzana crossing, killing one of them and arresting six others, the Egyptian army spokesperson said in a statement on Facebook on Tuesday.

Forces seized 174 kilograms (384 pounds) of various types of drugs during the operation, according to the military statement.

For its part, the Israeli army said one of its soldiers was slightly injured in the same incident that occurred late on Monday. In a statement carried by Israeli media it said that a female soldier was hit during an exchange of fire between Israeli troops and around 20 suspects who attempted to cross the border from Egypt in the Nitzana area, in an apparent attempt to smuggle drugs into Israel.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.