Israel has returned to Egypt the body of an Egyptian security officer who killed three Israeli soldiers and wounded two others in a rare cross-border attack on Saturday, according to media reports.
The officer, identified as Mohamed Salah, a 23-year-old police conscript, crossed the border fence into Israel and opened fire on two Israeli border guards at a post near Nitzana, killing them both. He then hid for several hours until a border patrol force arrived and engaged him in a shootout, killing a third soldier and injuring two others before being shot dead.
The motive of Salah, who was stationed in Sinai as part of an anti-drug smuggling unit, remains unclear.
Egyptian authorities said Salah was chasing drug smugglers when he crossed the border and was caught in an exchange of fire with the Israeli soldiers.
The incident was unusual as the border between Egypt and Israel is typically quiet and secured by a peace treaty signed in 1979. The two countries launched a joint investigation into the event and agreed to increase surveillance cameras on the border to prevent a repeat.
Salah’s body was handed over to Egypt on Sunday after coordination between the two sides. His family received his remains at Cairo airport and buried him in his hometown of Ain Shams.