World / Middle East

Israel shuts Egypt crossing after deadly IS attacks in Sinai

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-07-01 22:40

JERUSALEM - Israel on Wednesday shut down two border crossings into Egypt and the adjacent Gaza Strip, following deadly attacks by the Islamic State (IS) in Egypt's northern Sinai desert.

The Israeli Defense Ministry said in a statement that it ordered the temporary closing of the Nitzana terminal, severing the main commercial goods transportation route between Israel and Egypt, along with Kerem Shalom, a terminal used for delivering goods into Gaza.

The Taba terminal, used by travelers headed to the battle-free area of southern Sinai, was still open in the afternoon however.

The Defense Ministry said that the military is closely monitoring the border area in light of the recent events. "The security threat and alert level was raised along the border with Egypt and Israeli Air Force planes are circulating in the area," it said.

The army also instructed farmers to "avoid working in lands close to the border for fear of attacks from the Egyptian side," the ministry added.

A security official told Israel's Walla! news site that these are "precautionary preventative measures, until things clear up."

IS militants Wednesday launched a wave of attacks on Egyptian army posts in the north Sinai Peninsula, killing at least 50 soldiers.

The attacks took place south of Sheikh Zuweid, military officials told Xinhua, adding that IS also took several soldiers captive and seized their weapons and several armored vehicles.

Officials said the perpetrators used mortars, rocket propelled grenades as well as assault rifles.

Meanwhile, Egypt's military spokesman, Mohammed Samir, in a statement said that 70 militants attacked five posts in northern Sinai, with Egyptian troops successfully killing 22 of them and destroying three all-terrain vehicles fitted with anti-aircraft guns.

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