August 19, 2011 / 19 Av 5771
This morning we learned of a deadly terrorist attack near Eilat. It was a very well coordinated, probably planned for months and had lethal results which as of the time of this writing include eight dead Israelis (among them two children and two soldiers) and at least 26 people were wounded. The coordinated attack involved five separate incidents including terrorists opening fire on a civilian Egged bus, blowing mines and firing anti tank missiles at busses and cars.
Sequence of the Attacks
The first attack occurred shortly after noon when two or three terrorists in a passing car reportedly opened fire on Egged bus No. 392 carrying Israeli soldiers en-route to Eilat from Beersheba along Highway 12, about 25 miles north of Eilat.
Several soldiers returned fire not only on the passing car but also reportedly at gunfire from inside the Egyptian border. A total of 14 bus passengers were wounded from gunshot wounds to the arms and legs, one seriously; 20 others were treated for shock.
At about the same time, according to an IDF spokesman, a second civilian bus came under fire. There was no initial report of casualties.
Minutes later two Israeli civilian cars also came under fire. One of the cars carried a family of four, including two young children. They were reportedly uninjured. The second car was hit by an anti-tank missile that killed six occupants.
Meanwhile, an Israeli military patrol vehicle racing to the scene ran over an improvised explosive device near the Egyptian border. Several soldiers were injured, the spokesman said.
Five minutes later, mortar shells were reportedly fired at Israeli vehicles; no casualties were reported. At 1:10 p.m., an RPG rocket was fired at another Israeli vehicle; there were no reported injuries.
The terrorist attack was condemned harshly by the United States and by the US Secretary General.
Israeli spokespeople have linked the attacks to Gaza and pointed to the weakened Egyptian control of the Sinai peninsula as a result of the fall of the Mubarak government and recent events in that country. Security sources said that the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) in Gaza was behind Thursday's attack near Eilat. They added that the operatives had crossed from the Gaza Strip into Egypt and then into Israel in the morning to carry out the attack.
Later in the afternoon, the IDF attacked terror targets in Rafah in the Gaza Strip. Six Palestinians were killed in the joint IDF and Shin Bet strike. Among those killed was the chief of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), Kamal al-Nairab. The five others that were killed were also members of the terrorist faction.
Prime minister Benjamin Netanayu praised the IDF soldiers and security forces for preventing greater tragedy during multi-pronged terror attack in South adding that "those who think Israel will accept attacks on its citizens are wrong."
The events of the day did not end with the attacks and reprisals. An additional two people were critically wounded Thursday evening (Israel time) when gunfire erupted close to the site of the terror attacks earlier in the day. The gunfire began during a press conference by Defense Minister Ehud Barak and IDF chief Benny Gantz, at the scene of the attacks.
Also, following the IDF attacks on Gaza, the Palestinians responded with rocket fire on Ashkelon. The Iron Dome system was able to shoot down the rockets.
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