JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel closed its borders with Egypt and Gaza after Islamic State terror attacks on Egyptian army checkpoints in the northern Sinai.
Dozens of soldiers, with estimates as high as 50, were reported killed in the attacks Wednesday on some 15 checkpoints. The checkpoints had come under attack by terrorists affiliated with Islamic State, or ISIS, using pickup trucks equipped with antiaircraft guns, The New York Times reported. Soldiers also were taken captive by the terrorists.
Fighting in the Sinai continued into Wednesday afternoon, according to reports.
The closed border crossings include the Nitzana border crossing with Sinai and the Kerem Shalom crossing with Gaza.
The attacks come two days after the assassination of Egypt’s prosecutor-general in a car bombing in Cairo.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the attacks during hospital visits on Wednesday afternoon in Jerusalem with victims of two Palestinian terror attacks this week.
“Terrorism is knocking at our borders,” Netanyahu said. “ISIS is not just opposite the Golan Heights. At the moment it is also in Egypt, opposite Rafiah, facing our borders, and we are joined with Egypt and with many other countries in the Middle East and the world in the struggle against the extremist Islamic terrorism.”
Egypt in recent months has destroyed tunnels between its territory and Gaza, and created a security zone in the northern Sinai in an effort to halt rebel attacks.