Thu, Aug 18, 2011 | Edited by Crethi Plethi
Quadruple Terror Attack Near Eilat; IDF Strikes Gaza in Response
Terrorists opened fire on innocent Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers near Eilat, a southern Israeli city on August 18, 2011, killing 7, injuring at least 40. Special police forces, IDF soldiers located and killed seven terrorists. Joint IDF, Shin Bet operation hits Rafah after quadruple terrorist attacks near Eilat.
Today’s combined terrorist attacks on Israeli civilian vehicles began several hours ago, when gunfire was opened at an Israeli bus. 14 people were injured as a result and evacuated to nearby hospitals. Simultaneously, fire was opened on an additional bus and two civilian vehicles, injuring several people.
An explosive device was detonated on IDF soldiers that arrived at the scene a short while afterwards, injuring several of them. Several mortar shells were simultaneously fired from the Gaza Strip at soldiers conducting routine maintenance work on the security fence on the Israel-Egypt border.
This is a malicious attack on innocent civilians, who were on their way to the known tourist destination city, Eilat, for their summer vacation. The IDF will pursue those responsible for this attack at all costs and will not allow any further harm to Israeli civilians.
Time Line of the terror attack:
14:00 — IDF Spokeswoman: Initial update: Exchange of fire between IDF security sources and terrorists are taking place in Israeli territory.
14:20 — Mortar shells are being fired at southern Israel.
14:30 — IDF Spokesperson Announcement: Combined Terrorist Attacks in Southern Israel.
14:57 — All 14 Israeli casualties were evacuated to local hospitals in Israel.
14:58 — Multi-pronged terror attack on Israel civilians came from Gaza.
15:05 — IDF Spokeswoman: Attack in Israel was directed towards civilians.
15:27 — During multi-pronged terror attack, a vehicle was injured by roadside bomb.
15:41 — Seven terrorists were hit by IDF after they carried out terror attack on Israel civilians.
17:45 — Today’s multi-pronged terror attack on innocent civilians near Israel’s southernmost city of Eilat led to 40 injured people and invovled live fire at civilian buses and a vehicle.
18:50 — IDF Spokeswoman: 7 Israelis killed in vicious terror attack in Israel.
20:00 — IDF Chief of Staff: This is severe incident. IDF forces engaged with and hit terrorists at eye contact. IDF continues to operate in the south.
20:04 – Update: Israel police closed roads in southern Israel following today’s multi-pronged terror attack.
20:45 – Iron Dome, Israeli missile-defense system, intercepted rocket launched from Gaza into Israel.
21:20 – IDF Soldier Killed in multi-pronged terror attack.
24:00 – Eight Israelis killed from multi-pronged terror attack.
Two Egged buses and an IDF vehicle were targeted by unidentified terrorist cells in what appears to be a coordinated operation. Several soldiers were also wounded when explosives went off at the security fence with Gaza.
In the first attack, three terrorists ambushed bus # 392 about 30 kilometers from Eilat as it traveled on Route 12 from Be’er Sheva towards the city, opening fire with automatic weapons. Most of the passengers in the first bus were IDF soldiers heading to the Red Sea resort city on leave. The troops engaged the terrorists in a shootout, killing at least two of the three operatives and leaving a third critically injured.
Terrorists targeted a second Egged bus less than an hour later, firing a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) at the vehicle and wounding more passengers just a few kilometers from Eilat.
An IDF military vehicle was blown up as it raced to the scene, driving over an explosive device planted on the narrow road, killing the car’s occupants.
A number of soldiers were seriously wounded in the attack.
A second Israeli vehicle was targeted early Thursday afternoon by unidentified terrorists who apparently fired a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) that scored a direct hit on the road to Eilat. At least five passengers were critically wounded in the attack.
The attack occurred less than an hour after a terrorist cell ambushed a bus on Route 12 to the Red Sea resort city, aiming automatic gunfire at the vehicle and wounding seven passengers. Highway 12 connects Ovdat Air Force base and Ovdat airport with Eilat. The airport and the base are adjacent to each other.
Security sources said the bus appeared to have been hit by fire apparently from the Egyptian side of the border, in the Sinai Peninsula…Egyptian authorities insisted that the attacks must have been fired from Israeli soil because “it is impossible to shoot Israelis from the Egyptian side.”
IDF soldiers who were passengers and police who raced to the scene engaged in a firefight with the three terrorists who had attacked the first bus about 30 kilometers, some 12 miles northwest of Eilat. At least two of the three terrorists responsible for the ambush on the first bus were confirmed killed in the firefight. The third has allegedly been critically injured.
Israel has meanwhile taken the nation to its highest terror alert following the attacks, which took place along its border with Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. The terrorists apparently used automatic, anti-tank weapons, mortars and roadside bombs in the attacks that targeted on two Israeli buses and civilians and military vehicles … Analysts speculate that the international Al Qaeda terrorist organization may have been involved in the multi-site operation due to its complexity and the fact that Egypt recently began to crack down on Bedouin and terrorist activities in the Sinai Peninsula, where the organization has developed training bases. The region has become a lawless territory since the fall of former President Hosni Mubarak during the Tahrir Square Revolution that swept the country earlier this year.
“It is unbelievable — the fence is several yards from the highway and when we were there on a field trip we saw a lone Egyptian guard in a tower, really less than 100 yards from the road,” said an American immigrant who spoke with Arutz Sheva Thursday afternoon following the attacks.
The source, who requested anonymity, was blunt. “There is no problem to attack the highway from the Egyptian side, even with an M-16 rifle, let alone with a missle,” he added.
Two weeks ago, terrorists from the Egyptian side shot and hit the jeep of a reserve battalion commander. The commander was not injured — but the jeep was attacked from the Egyptian side of the border, according to security sources.
IDF soldiers continued to comb the area for the terrorists who carried out the attack on the civilian and military vehicles, reportedly a group consisting of 20 terrorists.
Israeli radio stations spent the afternoon updating news reports and playing Israeli Zionist songs, a sign of national sadness in the Jewish State.
Another gunfire incident took place on the Israel-Egypt border Thursday evening. One person, apparently an IDF soldier, was reported seriously wounded. The circumstances of the incident are not clear. The incident occurred as the Minister of Defense and Chief of Staff were briefing reporters in the South, near Highway 12. Gunfire was heard during the press conference.
Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz told reporters in the evening: “There are more incidents on the ground. There is no point in providing inaccurate details, I request that you wait patiently.”
Southern Command Head Maj. Gen. Tal Rousso revealed that a suicide terrorist also took part in the attacks Thursday morning. The terrorists was part of a team of three terrorists, and he detonated himself against a bus.
Additional explosive devices were found along the border, Rousso said.
Source: Jerusalem Post.
Israel has so far managed to construct a barrier along 45 kilometers of it’s southern border with Egypt, which stretches for over 200 km.
The original plan was to complete construction of the fence in 2013 but the Defense Ministry decided several months ago to hire six different contracts in order to speed up the construction and complete the project by the end of 2012.
The Defense Ministry said it would complete construction of an additional 100 km by the end of 2011. Officials said that 700 meters of fence was constructed on a daily basis.
Following the attacks near Eilat on Thursday, Defense Ministry Dir.-Gen. Udi Shani convened a meeting to discuss ways to increase the number of workers who work on the fence in an effort to move up the completion date.
Source: Jerusalem Post.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Thursday following three separate terror attacks in the area, “We’re talking about a serious incident in which Israeli citizens were hurt and the country’s sovereignty was harmed” … He promised that Israel would respond to the attacks which killed at least seven Israelis on Thursday.
[…] Earlier on Thursday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that the IDF will hunt down the perpetrators of the three-stage terrorist attack along Israel’s border with Egypt. Barak said that Israel will strike back at the terrorist infrastructure in Gaza in response to the attacks.
Speaking from his office at the Defense Ministry headquarters in Tel Aviv, the defense minister added that the IDF was assessing the security situation along the border with Egypt.
“The attacks demonstrate the weakening of Egypt’s control over the Sinai peninsula and the expansion of terrorist activity there,” Barak said, adding “These attacks originate in Gaza and we will act against them with full force and resolve.”
Source: Jerusalem Post.
The IDF attacked terror targets in Rafah in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, in response to a three-stage terrorist attack which killed seven Israelis and wounded dozens in the South earlier in the day.
Five Palestinians were killed in the joint IDF and Shin Bet strike.
Among those killed was Abu Awad Kamel a-Neirab, commander of the Salah a-Din Brigades, the “military” wing of the Popular Resistance Committees. The four others that were killed were also members of the terrorist faction.
IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz said in a press conference just after the airstrike was reported, that the IDF had begun responding in Gaza in the area “where we believe the planners of the attack are based.”
The PLC is a smaller version of Hamas. Channel 2 news Arab affairs expert Ehud Yaari compared it to “Hamas’s appendix.”
A-Neirab’s predecessor as commander of the Salah a-Din brigades, Khalil al–Quqa, was killed by the IDF five years ago. The PLC commander, Jamal Samahadneh, was killed a short time later, on June 9, 2006.
The group vowed revenge — and mounted a successful attack against the IDF 19 days later — the attack in which two soldiers were killed and one, Gilad Shalit, was abducted.
According to some reports, the PLC was planning an abduction today, too. However, Israel had prior knowledge of a planned attack and special forces were on hand. While they failed to preempt the attack, they were able to minimize its success.