Home > World War III > “Terrorists” launch multiple attacks in Israel

“Terrorists” launch multiple attacks in Israel

 By AMY TEIBEL Associated Press © 2011 The Associated Press
Aug. 18, 2011, 7:05AM

JERUSALEM — Assailants armed with heavy weapons, guns and explosives launched three attacks in quick succession in southern Israel near the border with Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula on Thursday, killing at least five people and wounding about a dozen more, officials said.

The rare violence in that part of the country targeted a passenger bus, a military patrol and a private car, officials said.

Channel 10 TV reported a fourth attack by gunmen, but there was no official confirmation or details. The military said a “large number” of assailants were working in multiple squads.

“We are talking about a terror squad that infiltrated into Israel,” said Israeli military spokeswoman Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich. “This is a combined terrorist attack against Israelis.”

The violence near the resort city of Eilat stoked concerns about growing lawlessness in the neighboring Egyptian Sinai Peninsula following the ouster in February of that country’s longtime autocratic leader, Hosni Mubarak.

“The incident underscores the weak Egyptian hold on Sinai and the broadening of the activities of terrorists,” Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said in a statement. “The real source of the terror is in Gaza and we will act against them with full force and determination.”

Bedouins in Sinai cooperate with anti-Israel militants in Gaza, just across the border.

The driver of the bus said he had seen Egyptian soldiers open fire, but military spokesman Brig.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai said he was not aware of any Egyptian military involvement.

Israeli security forces tracked down some of the assailants and are engaged in an ongoing gunbattle with them, Mordechai said. The attackers fired mortars and an anti-tank missile, he said. The military spokesman’s office said a roadside bomb was detonated when a military patrol arrived at the scene of the bus attack and drove over the device.

Mordechai said the nature of the attack indicated that it had been well planned.

The military said several assailants had been killed in the shootout with Israeli forces, but did not give a number.

A doctor at the main hospital in the area said the medical facility had been put on an emergency alert. Israel Radio said roadblocks were thrown up in the area and that entrances and exits to Eilat were sealed. Senior Israeli defense officials convened in emergency session at the defense ministry in Tel Aviv.


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