Eilat was today’s target for two Grad missiles fired from Sinai. Thankfully no one was hurt and there was no serious damage but it could have been so much worse:
At least two Grad rockets fired from the Sinai area hit Israel’s southernmost city of Eilat on Wednesday morning, causing no injuries but some damage.
An Islamist militant group in the Sinai Peninsula Magles Shoura al-Mujahadin claimed responsibility for the attack on its website on Wednesday saying it targeted Eilat with two Grad missiles and then withdrew safely.
One of the rockets fell in an open area and one landed in a construction site. Israeli media also reported a possible third missile landing on the outskirts of the city. A number of local residents were reportedly being treated for shock.
The perpetrators were a Salafi Jihadist group who claimed responsibility for the attack:
“The lions of the Mujahedeen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem managed to target occupied Eilat with two Grad rockets on the morning of April 17, and withdrew safely,” a statement posted on jihadist web sites said. There were no details indicating the site from where the rockets had been launched, AFP reported.
However, a spokesperson for the Israel Defense Force said the rocket fire had been traced to Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, a region which has become a hotbed of terrorist activity since the fall in 2011 of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
Egyptian military said it was still checking the source of the rocket fire. “We are still investigating to see if they were delivered from Egyptian territories but nothing is confirmed yet,” a senior military official told AFP.
The two rockets slammed into the city of Eilat at about 9:00 a.m. Wednesday, one exploding in the back yard of a private home, the other landing in an open area.
Yisrael Hayom asks the very pertinent question “Where was Iron Dome?“. The answer does not appear to be forthcoming:
Residents of the coastal city said that the rockets first exploded, and only afterward was a siren heard. Army Radio said the IDF was checking why the siren system failed to identify the incoming rockets, even though they landed in an urban area, a new housing construction site in the city, and why the Iron Dome system, deployed to Eilat only two weeks ago after intelligence warnings of possible rocket attacks, did not intercept the rockets. Israel Radio reported that the IDF was looking into why the vaunted system did not spring into operation and launch interceptors at the rockets.
An IDF Spokeswoman told Reuters that Iron Dome didn’t intercept the rockets “for operational reasons,” without elaborating.
I think “for inoperational reasons” would be more apt. Let’s hope the IDF and the other defence and security apparatus are checking into the malfunction, especially given the increasingly volatile situation in Egypt and the anarchic lawlessness in the Sinai region.