Thursday, August 18, 2011

Multiple Mass Casualty Attacks In Southern Israel

Terrorists opened fire with heavy weapons, explosives, and mortars on several vehicles driving along a road near the Israeli resort city of Eilat. At least 6 people are dead and 25 injured in the coordinated mass casualty attacks.
At least six people were reported dead and at least 25 injured in a three-stage terrorist attack along Israel’s border with Egypt on Thursday, which began when terrorists opened fire at an Egged bus traveling on Road 12 near Eilat.

Several minutes later, a number of bombs went off next to an IDF patrol traveling along the border with Egypt. There were also reports of mortar fire from Egypt into Israel. The terrorists apparently then moved on to another spot and fired an anti-tank missile at another vehicle, injuring a number of passengers.
Other reports have increased the death toll to 7 and 30+ injured. The IDF and security forces are hunting down those responsible, and at least 3 terrorists were killed:
Heavy security forces presence is noted in the area, as a massive manhunt involving IDF ground forces and aircraft is currently taking place. IDF forces reported three terrorists have been killed. It is unclear at this time if they were the only ones involved.

The Eilat Police have ordered emergency deployment in the area, and a situation room has been set up at the Yoseftal Hospital, which has declared a mass casualty event.

According to the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, soldiers were among the wounded in these incidents. IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen Benny Gantz and Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino are en route to GOC Southern Command, where they will confer with Southern Command Chief Major-General Tal Russo.

All of the roads leading to Eilat have been closed, as was the Ovda Airfield. Eilat's airport has been placed on alert.
Multiple reports indicate that at least some of the mortar fire came from the Egyptian side of the border.

This is hardly the first time terrorists have struck near Eilat, but this is the worst such terror attack inside Israel in quite some time. In recent years, terrorists have taken to firing off rockets and mortars from inside Gaza, or used heavy construction vehicles to rampage along Israeli city streets. Investigators will look to whether these terrorists infiltrated into Israel from Egypt, or whether a terror cell was operating in the West Bank or Israel proper and managed to carry out the attack.

Expect the usual suspects to cheer the news of the deaths of Israelis. It's what those ghouls do.

On cue, Hamas is praising the attacks.

Egypt is saying that the attackers didn't come from their side of the border, claiming that they didn't note any suspicious movement in Sinai preceding the attacks. It doesn't mean that the attacks couldn't have originated there, just that the Egyptian security didn't know about it.

Today's terror attacks come a day after Egyptian forces opened fire on a group of Sudanese men trying to enter Israel. Two Sudanese men were killed in the incident, and that follows a similar incident last week where another Sudanese man was killed.

Hamas is gearing up for retaliatory strikes by Israel after today's terror attacks. Their leadership has gone to ground hoping to avoid being targeted by Israeli strikes that may be forthcoming. Israeli security believes that the attacks may have been planned or originated from Gaza. Apparently, the terrorists crossed into Sinai from Gaza, and then recrossed into Israel near Eilat. It's one more reason that Israelis will call for Israel to reestablish the Philadelphi corridor along the border to prevent further incursions and reduce smuggling of arms and terrorists between Sinai and Gaza.

Israel did retaliate today for the terror attacks in Eilat. It killed the leader of a Popular Resistance Committee and several other terrorists.
The airstrike killed the chief of the Popular Resistance Committees and four other members of the armed Palestinian faction in the southern Gaza Strip, the group said.

The Popular Resistance Committees, which often operates independently from Gaza's Islamist Hamas rulers, identified their dead commander as Kamal al-Nairab. An Israeli military source confirmed the airstrike in the town of Rafah.
For those who aren't familiar with this particular terror group, it's a spinoff of Fatah and the al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade that split with Fatah because Fatah wasn't sufficiently violent towards Israel. Another way of looking at it is that this terror group was spun off to give plausible deniability to Fatah terrorists looking to attack Israel at a time when Fatah needed to show itself willing to negotiate with Israel to receive paychecks from the rest of the world to fund Palestinian Authority operations.

Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted a Grad missile fired towards Ashkelon. It looks like things are about to escalate in a significant way. As I've said for a long time, the terrorists attack Israel at the time and place of their choosing. With the way that the PRCs are linked back to Hizbullah, it is possible that these attacks are meant to take the pressure off Syria and try to pin Israel in the headlines so Assad can continue its crackdown against protesters.

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