(photo credit: Spokesperson police southern region)
A jihadi group in the Sinai Peninsula fired two Grad rockets at Eilat on
Wednesday morning, triggering air raid sirens in the Red Sea city.
rockets exploded in open territory, causing no injuries or damage. One
projectile fell in a building site.
Security forces later tracked down
the rocket remains, directing their searches in accordance with where residents
heard blasts. Photographs taken shortly after the blasts showed plumes of white
smoke rising from the impact sites.
A Salafi jihadist group claimed
responsibility for the attacks, the AFP reported.
“The lions of the
Mujahedeen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem managed to target occupied
Eilat with two Grad rockets on the morning of April 17, and withdrew safely,” a
statement posted on jihadist websites said.
Eilat Mayor Meir Yitzhak
Halevi vowed to continue life as usual in the city.
“We will slowly
return to normal,” he said. “We know jihadi forces are trying to harm Eilat, an
important city. Unfortunately it happened this morning. We very much hope the
rocket launchers will be caught.”
Although the IDF stationed an Iron Dome
battery near Eilat earlier this month, it did not intercept the rockets. Some
residents also complained that sirens went off only after the attack
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the city’s airport had been
shut for a short period, adding, “We’ll take additional precautions in case of
Brig.-Gen. Zvi Fogel, former head of the IDF Southern
Command, told the 103 FM radio station: “Enough with trusting [Egyptian
President Mohamed] Morsi to do the work. I want to see the rocket launchers meet
their makers... not only them, but also those who instructed and funded
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon briefed Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu – who is in London for Margaret Thatcher’s funeral – on the Eilat
rocket attacks. Ya’alon also spoke to Eilat’s mayor by phone.
also held security consultations over the phone regarding the best way to
respond to the rocket fire.