The al-Qaida-affiliated terrorists who targeted Eilat with rockets on Wednesday
morning believe they have found Israel’s strategic Achilles’
Striking from Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, they hope, rules out Israeli
Jerusalem is highly reluctant to embark on any kind of
counterterrorism operation on Egyptian territory, a fact readily exploited by
It was the seventh rocket strike on Eilat since
2010, and time is running out for the IDF to find a way to close the security
loophole threatening the Red Sea resort city.
The rockets were designed
not only to sow death and destruction among civilians – which fortunately was
averted on Wednesday – but also to bring about a collapse of Eilat’s vital
The Mujahadeen Shura Council, a Salafi jihadi group,
claimed responsibility for the attack, releasing a triumphant video of its
members launching the Grads. But it could end up paying a heavy price for its
The group has assets in Gaza as well as Sinai. Its Gazan targets
have already been struck in the past by the Israel Air Force.
2012, the group was dealt a severe blow when its two most senior members were killed while
riding a motorcycle by an Israeli air strike in response to a Grad rocket attack
But the global jihadis have bounced back. They refuse to
recognize the Hamas-Israel cease-fire, opting to strain the truce again and
Most recently, at the beginning of April, the Shura council fired
rockets at Sderot
, prompting IAF counterstrikes for the first time since
Operation Pillar of Defense in November.
With the group vulnerable to
Israeli action in Gaza, the IAF might act even more forcefully against it in
order to defend Eilat from future attacks.
Should that occur, however,
Hamas will come under mounting pressure to terminate the truce.
pressure will be counterbalanced, however, by Israel’s credible deterrence;
Hamas will be in no rush to invite renewed, bruising Israeli
Nevertheless, in today’s unstable region, small groups can
trigger an unpredictable chain reaction that can lead to a much wider
confrontation, and in multiple arenas.
An attack from Sinai can lead to
an escalation in Gaza.
As it contemplates how to protect the people of
Eilat, the IDF must prepare for all scenarios.