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by Rhonda Spivak, Israel, August 18, 1:30 in the afternoon

Update: Since writing this report initially earlier today, it has now been learned that the co-ordinated terror attacks of today in Eilat were carried out by terror cells affiliated with the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) in the Gaza Strip, whose leaders were killed in response to the attacks in an Israel Air Force strike later in the day. The Palestinian terrorists went by underground tunnels from Gaza to the Sinai, and from there entered Israel, with the intention of trying to abduct an Israeli soldier. Hamas has praised the attacks (It ought to be remembered that Fatah has entered into a reconciliation agreement with the same Hamas that has just praised the attacks. I have yet to hear of  Mahmoud Abbas condeming the attacks) It  appears likely that the terror attacks near  Eilat will speed up the construction of a fence to seal off the border between Sinai and Israel, which was not set to be completed until 2013. Below is my original article filed earlier in the day ] 


Next week the Read Sea Jazz Festival is scheduled to begin in Israel’s southern resort town of Eilat , that is now teaming with tourists who came to relax and enjoy the attractions, but who will have unwittingly found themselves to be at the centre of a  terror storm that has hit the city, which is now on  high alert.

The  triple attack comes just as Prime Minister  Netanyahu was set to take an already scaled down  “mini vacation” for a couple of days in his home in  Ceasarea, rather than take an initially scheduled longer vacation elsewhere.

The series of three terrorist attacks that have occurred today near Eilat, which are the worst  in the area in recent history, have left several people killed, and at least 15 people injured (with numbers likely to grow as news unfolds).

The first attack, at around noon was a shooting from a vehicle on Egged bus 392 traveling from Beer Sheva to Eilat, in which ten passengers on board the bus sustained light to moderate injuries. Shortly after the bus attack, IDF forces engaged in a shootout with the armed men near the scene of incident. Moreover, a second shooting attack took place in which five people were seriously wounded.

In addition to the shooting attacks, mortars were fired from the Egyptian border and a bomb was set off on an Israeli army vehicle.

Following the shootout with the IDF, three terrorists were killed, although it is not yet known which terror group or groups are involved.

According to reports, the passengers in the car opened fire at the Egged bus, which held many soldiers returning from their bases.

Already, Israeli television commentators such as Channel 2’s Ehud Yaari here are referring to the fact that since the Egyptian revolution, the Egyptian army has lost control of the  Sinai, to terror groups, and Bedouin smugglers etc,  and as a result the  gas pipeline from Egypt to  Israel and  Jordan has been repeatedly blown up by saboteurs in the last several months.

Mention has also been made of the fact that  many terrorists, and criminals  who were locked up in  Egyptian prisons under now deposed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak  were freed during the revolution, and some likely made their way to  Gaza, where they have teamed up with terror groups in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas has reported on the attacks on its website       

by referring to Eilat as the occupied city of “Om Ar-Rashrash.”

According to the Jerusalem Post, the Egyptian army had begun a massive operation on Sunday trying to arrest and control terror cells operating in the Sinai.

According to  Ynet, Minister of  Defense Ehud Barak has said the attack definitely originated from Gaza, not Egypt.

"This was a grave terror attack at multiple scenes. It reflects Egypt's failing hold on Sinai and the rise of terror elements," Barak said. "This terror attack originated from Gaza. We will exhaust all measures against the terrorists."

An Egyptian security official denied Thursday to Ynet  that Egypt had any involvement in the attacks. The official told Egyptian media that the armed terrorists operated from within Israel's borders.

"Egypt was in no way involved in the incident, since it is difficult to penetrate the Egypt-Israel border. Moreover, it is impossible to open fire from the Egyptian side to Israel because of the distance," he said.

Ynet said it learned Thursday that shortly before Thursday's attacks, Jordan had passed a message to Israel suggesting their intelligence indicated that a terror cell was plotting such an attack.

According to the IDF website, Crossfire between IDF forces, led by the Commander of the 80th Division, Brigadier General Tamir Yadi and the cell of terrorists is currently underway. Additional IDF and rescue forces are arriving at the scene.IDF Chief of the General Staff, Lieutenant – General Benny Gantz arrived at the Division a short while ago and is currently holding an initial situation assessment.

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

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