CMEP Bulletin: Renewed Violence Clouds Peace Prospects
Attacks in Israel
On Thursday a series of attacks targeted Israeli soldiers and civilians near the Red Sea resort town Eilat. Armed infiltrators came into Israel from Egypt, crossing the border along the Sinai Peninsula. In the course of just over an hour, attackers aimed machine guns, anti-tank missiles, mortar fire, and explosive devices at as many as five Israeli targets, killing at eight people and wounding more than 30. The first terrorist attack came Thursday afternoon when gunman fired at a passenger bus from a private vehicle. When IDF soldiers respond to the attack, an explosive device was detonated near their vehicle. Two anti-tank missiles were subsequently launched from near the Egypt-Israel border, killing six.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak said “There will be a price tag to this event. Gaza will be severely hit. It is clear that the plan (for the attack) came from terror organizations in Gaza…The IDF will soon prepare for a response.” Hamas rejected accusations that they were responsible, saying it was a plot, “meant to justify an Israeli aggression against Gaza.” The Popular Resistance Committees, another militant group operating in Gaza that was the main target of Israeli retaliation has also denied responsibility for the attack.
At least six Palestinians in Gaza were killed in Israeli airstrikes in response to the attack. A correspondent for Ma’an News said that the home in Rafah that was bombed belonged to Popular Resistance Committees official Khaled Shaath. Official Israeli sources said the IDF raids in Gaza had killed the PRC leaders who it suspects organized these raids as well as the kidnapping of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit who has been held captive by Hamas since 2006. The IDF says that at least 10 rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel following Israel’s airstrike. Two of the rockets caused damage and injuries in the Israeli port city of Ashdod.
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