A day after two rockets struck Eilat, the Egypt State Information Service quoted the Egyptian army on Thursday as declaring that “Egyptian territories were not and would never be a source of threat to neighboring States.”
In the army statement, military spokesman Col. Muhammad Ali added that a technical committee was looking into the attack, which is believed to have come from the Sinai Peninsula.
Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon told The Jerusalem Post
on Thursday that there was good cooperation between Jerusalem and Cairo, and that Israel would work to maintain it.
On Wednesday, Danon visited an Eilat neighborhood where one of the rockets had fallen and spoke with the residents. He also met with the city’s Mayor Meir Yitzhak Halevi.
“We will defend the citizens of Eilat,” he vowed while in the city.
Maj.-Gen. Alaa Ezzedine, the head of Egypt’s Strategic Center of the Armed Forces, denied Wednesday that the rockets had been fired from Sinai, according to Ahram Online.
“Egypt owns the capabilities required for knowing who fired the rockets and from which point; based on our radar systems, we confirm that no rockets were launched from inside Egyptian territory,” the website quoted him as saying.
He also said that it was Israel’s responsibility to determine the source of the rocket fire, and that the attack proved the Iron Dome anti-missile system to be a “failure.”
However, his statement appeared to conflict with a Ynet report that cited the IDF as saying Egypt had delivered warnings ahead of the attack, leading Israel to place an Iron Dome battery near Eilat.
Ezzedine told Ahram Online that the Egyptian army was planning to deal with the lack of security in the Sinai.
“The plan includes intensifying the movements of military patrols in sites which jihadists have taken advantage of in the past, along with providing more weapons for the existing ambushes,” he said.
IDF officials said the rockets had probably been fired from Egypt, and jihadist group Magles Shoura al-Mujahddin claimed on its website that it had targeted Eilat with two Grad missiles. It said the attack was in response to Israel’s attack on protesters demonstrating over the death of a Palestinian prisoner.
Reuters contributed to this report.