Shooting Near Rafah Border Crossing Kills a Member of Egypt’s Security Forces

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A member of Egypt’s security forces was killed near the Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip and an investigation is underway, an Egyptian army spokesman said on Monday, after the Israeli military reported a shooting on the border.

Al Qahera News, Egypt’s state-owned television station, cited a “well-informed,” unnamed security official as saying it appeared there was gunfire exchanged between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian fighters, and that the ensuing battle resulted in the death of the soldier. The New York Times could not independently verify the circumstances of the shooting.

The shooting reflected the escalating tension at the border since early May, when the city of Rafah, in southern Gaza, became the focus of Israel’s military campaign to defeat Hamas, an armed group that led a deadly attack on Israel on Oct. 7.

Israeli troops took control of the Gaza side of the Rafah border crossing, the main conduit between the territory and Egypt, early this month.

The Israeli military also on Monday reported a shooting at the border, but did not give further details.

“Several hours ago, a shooting incident took place on the Egyptian border,” Israel’s military said in a statement. “The incident is under review. There is a dialogue with the Egyptian side.”

The Egyptian army’s spokesman, Col. Gharib Abdel Hafez, wrote on social media that a member of Egypt’s security forces was killed in the shooting near the crossing.

The Israeli seizure of the Rafah crossing, in what Israel called a limited operation into Rafah, halted the flow of aid into the enclave through that portal. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel has said the operation is vital to defeat the remaining battalions of Hamas and to destroy its military infrastructure, including tunnels.

Rafah’s population had swollen to more than one million as Gazans displaced from their homes fled to the area earlier in the conflict. The Egyptian authorities said they were concerned about an exodus of refugees across the border and onto its soil. Since then, most people have fled Rafah to areas farther from the Egyptian border.

Israeli leaders have said repeatedly that they needed to control the crossing and a buffer zone along Gaza’s southern border, known in Israel as the Philadelphi Corridor, in order to block tunnels built by Hamas that run from Gaza into Egypt.