Shooting near Rafah border crossing kills member of Egyptian security forces

A member of the Egyptian security forces was killed near the Rafah border with the Gaza Strip and an investigation is ongoing, an Egyptian army spokesman said on Monday, after the Israeli army reported a shooting at the border .

Al Qahera News, Egypt's state television station, quoted an anonymous, “well-informed” security official as saying that there appeared to have been an exchange of gunfire between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian fighters and that the battle that that followed resulted in the death of the soldier. The New York Times could not independently verify the circumstances of the shooting.

The shooting reflects growing tension at the border since early May, when the southern Gaza city of Rafah became the hub of Israel's military campaign to defeat Hamas, an armed group that carried out a deadly attack on Israel on 7 October.

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

The Israeli army also reported shooting at the border on Monday, but provided no further details.

“Several hours ago, a shooting occurred at the Egyptian border,” the Israeli military said in a statement. “The incident is under review. There is a dialogue with the Egyptian side.”

Egyptian army spokesman Colonel Gharib Abdel Hafez wrote on social media that a member of the Egyptian security forces was killed in the shootout near the crossing.

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

Rafah's population had grown to more than one million, as Gazans displaced from their homes had fled to the area at the start of the conflict. Egyptian authorities have said they are concerned about the exodus of refugees across the border and onto its territory. Since then, most people have fled Rafah to areas further from the Egyptian border.

Israeli leaders have repeatedly said they needed to control the crossing and a buffer zone along Gaza's southern border, known in Israel as the Philadelphia Corridor, to block Hamas-built tunnels running from Gaza to Egypt.

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