Rockets fired at southern Israel likely from Egypt's Sinai peninsula

Published April 17, 2013

| Associated Press

At least two rockets were fired at Israel's southern resort city of Eilat from Egypt's Sinai peninsula on Wednesday, the Israeli military said.

Nobody was hurt in the attack, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said, adding that the remains of two rockets had been found and police were looking for more. Residents reported hearing three explosions. Police said one rocket exploded near the courtyard of a house.

Islamic militants have gained strength in the Sinai desert since the ouster of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in 2011. Radical Islamic groups have launched rockets at Eilat in the past, most recently last year from Sinai when militants fired one but caused no injuries.

Danny Lahav of Eilat's Chamber of Commerce told channel 2 TV that he heard the sound of a "faint explosion" in the morning, followed by two louder explosions. Residents in the popular tourist destination remained calm, he said, adding that he hopes the attack won't dissuade visitors.

Military chief Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz has said securing southern Israel from Sinai threats is a high priority, and Israel already deployed a battery of its new Iron Dome rocket-defense system to Eilat earlier this month. Israeli media reported that authorities activated an alarm system to alert people of the incoming rockets, but that the Iron Dome system was not activated.

Israel has increased surveillance on the porous Egyptian border over the past two years, and is building a barrier along the 150 mile frontier to keep out militants and illegal migrants.

Israeli media said there were reports rockets had also hit the tourist city of Aqaba in neighboring Jordan, but Jordanian Interior Minister Hussein Majali told the Associated Press that "no rockets" fell in Jordan.

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