Iron Dome battery 370.
(photo credit: Ben Hartman)
Terrorists fired a Grad rocket at Eilat shortly before 1 a.m. on Tuesday morning, triggering an air raid siren and activating the Iron Dome anti-rocket battery, which is stationed at the Red Sea city.
The Iron Dome system intercepted at least one rocket, according to initial IDF assessments. The incident marked the first time that Iron Dome has ever intercepted a rocket fired at Eilat.
Residents reported hearing the siren and a number of blasts.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon addressed the attack during a tour of the Lebanese border on Tuesday, saying the Iron Dome battery had been placed in Eilat to defend the Red Sea city from just this type of threat.
He added that Islamic extremists are attacking Egyptian security forces in Sinai and reiterated his respect of Egyptian sovereignty, while acknowledging that Egyptian security forces are working to “cleanse the terrorist nests there.”
Despite the attack, Ya’alon said, Israel seeks to reinstate quiet along the southern border “as soon as possible.” Residents and visitors to Eilat do not need to change their daily routine, and are under the protection of Iron Dome, he added. The IDF has also beefed up its forces in the area.
There are no concrete warnings for further rocket attacks, but terror cells in Sinai could certainly try to strike again, the defense minister stated.
The Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis jihadi group claimed credit for launching several Grad missiles toward Eilat, Channel 10 reported.
“This was a response to the latest crimes by the Jews, who used a drone to attack and kill four of our fighters in Sinai,” the organization said.
“The fighters managed to bomb occupied Um Rashrash [as Eilat is known in Arabic] with Grad missiles. The attack sowed fear among the criminal Jews, who were forced into underground bomb shelters.”
The attack comes days after the Sinai-based terrorist organization said an Israeli drone fired a missile and killed four of its members, who were plotting to fire a rocket at Israel.Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.