'Gaza-based PRC denies responsibility for Eilat attack'

Statement comes after group's leadership is targeted by IAF; spokesman says Israel fingering it to divert from internal problems, AFP says.

PRC terrorists at Gaza press conference 311 (R) (photo credit: Reuters)
PRC terrorists at Gaza press conference 311 (R)
(photo credit: Reuters)
The Popular Resistance Committees, the Gaza-based Palestinian terror organization fingered and targeted by Israel for Thursday's deadly terror attack near Eilat, has denied any involvement in the attack, the group told AFP on Friday.
A PRC spokesman praised the attack, but said his group doesn't claim responsibility for launching it. "The occupation wants to pin this operation on us in order to escape its own internal problems," he said, according to AFP.
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Eight Israelis, including a soldier from the Golani Brigade, were killed Thursday in a multi-stage attack in the South carried out by terrorists who infiltrated from Egypt.
On Thursday evening the IAF bombed the southern Gaza Strip, killing the leadership of the PRC, who Israeli officials said had orchestrated the attacks.
The PRC members killed in the retaliatory IAF air strike included the head of the terror group Kamal Nirab, who the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) said had personally directed and planned the attack.
Another man killed in the strike was identified as Amas Hamed, commander of the PRC’s military wing and a resident of Rafah. The Shin Bet said that Hamed was involved in the abduction of IDF soldier Gilad Schalit in June 2006 and oversaw numerous attacks against Israel including suicide bombings and rocket attacks.
Two other known PRC terrorists, including one who was also involved in Schalit’s abduction, were also killed in the air strike.
“The terrorists were directly involved in the attacks along the Israeli-Egyptian border,” a security official said.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Thursday that the IDF would escalate its response to the attacks. Egypt had lost its grip over Sinai Peninsula and terrorist organizations were able to move around there freely, he said.
“The IDF has already struck the heads of the PRC in Gaza and if there will be a need, the strikes will intensify,” Barak said. “The IDF will use all of the force necessary to protect Israel’s citizens and to enable a normal way of life in the country.”
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