Grad rocket slams into Eilat; none injured

Police discover shell of one Grad rocket, search for second; some citizens suffer shock; attack likely originated in Sinai.

By JPOST.COM STAFF,
April 5, 2012 03:11
2 minute read.
Qassam rocket [file]

Qassam rocket 311. (photo credit: Amir Cohen/Reuters)

 
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Police sappers discovered the remnants of a Grad rocket fired at Eilat late Wednesday night. Residents reported hearing explosions in the city.

Police were continuing to search for other rockets and holding security assessments in Eilat late Thursday morning, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.

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No casualties were reported in the attack, but a number of citizens suffered from shock and were treated by Magen David Adom paramedics.

Minutes after the last night's explosions, police emergency lines were flooded with hundreds of calls from members of the public, Rosenfeld added.

Eilat police chief Asst.-Cmdr. Ron Gertner said the southern city has been on high alert due to the upcoming Passover holiday.

Asked if the rocket was fired from Sinai, Gertner said: "Based on our working assumptions and the (rocket) range, yes."

Gertner added that Eilat has been reinforced with additional security forces who arrived to assist police in handling the aftermath of the rocket fire incident.

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Eilat Mayor Meir Yitzhak-Halevy said Thursday morning that his city will function as normal despite the attack.

Speaking to Army Radio, Yitzhak-Halevy said, "we have no intention of changing our daily routine," adding that the city of Eilat had already been on high alert because of the upcoming Passover holiday.

"I call on all Israeli citizens to come enjoy the warm weather in our city this Passover," Yitzhak-Halevy said.

Rocket attacks in Eilat are rare but not unheard of.

In August 2010, five rockets landed in the area around Eilat, killing one Jordanian and injuring three more, in front of the Intercontinental Hotel. Two of the rockets exploded in Jordan, a third north of Eilat's hotel area, and two more in the Red Sea. The projectiles were thought to be Grad-type Katyushas launched from the Sinai Peninsula.

Sinai has also served as a springboard for terrorist incursions into Israeli territory. The most recent incident in August 2011 left seven Israelis dead and dozens wounded in a sophisticated multi-stage attack. The Popular Resistance Committees claimed responsibility for the attack,

Israel has called on Egypt to increase its efforts to restore order in Sinai and to prevent attacks, but the Egyptian military has held back from dismantling the Hamas infrastructure in the peninsula. The IDF has beefed up its forces along the border and recently established a new regional brigade that is responsible for defending Eilat and nearby areas.

Reuters and Yaakov Katz contributed to this report

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