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August 18, 2011

Developing: Multifocal Terror Attack Hits Southern Israel (Updated)

Topics: Israel

This is a developing story, reporting is subject to change as more information becomes available (H/t - Gilbert).

Terrorists have launched several terror attacks against Israeli targets, IDF forces in south. Over a dozen people have been injured. MDA ('Mada' - Israel's national emergency medical, disaster, ambulance and blood bank service).has declared the attack a mass casualty event; roads to Eilat and Ovda Airfield have been closed:

In the first incident, Egged bus number 392, traveling from Beersheba to the southern resort city of Eilat was ambushed by a three-man terror cell. Over a dozen people were wounded in the attack, which took place on Highway 12, about 30km north of Eilat, near the Ein Netafim junction.

Soon after that a second incident was reported, involving multiple roadside bombs and rocket fire at IDF forces patrolling the Israel Egypt border fence.

A third incident was reported at around 1pm, involving yet another shooting on a bus and a private vehicle traveling south. Five people reportedly suffered mortal wounds in the attack.

"Rocket fire" has also been reported as "mortar" fire (h/t - Gilbert) from the Egyptian side of the border. It has also been reported that the first bus was carrying soldiers on their way home from border duty.

A third attack killed five more people on another bus. Israeli and Egyptian forces are searching for the perpetrators.

Israel Matzav is liveblogging the attack, has posted the following map, and appears to have much more information than the news services
(A is Gaza. B is Eilat. Blue line on your left (which is on the right if driving south) is the Egyptian border. Beyond that line is Sinai. Route 10 runs right along that blue line):

Gaza to Eilat route.jpg

1. 'Palestinian' terrorists shot at an Egged bus - number 392 - from Beer Sheva to Eilat. The driver kept driving and no one on the bus was killed. The bus driver has just told Israel Radio that people wearing Egyptian army uniforms shot at his bus. 23 soldiers who were on the bus.

2. 'Palestinian' terrorists near the Philadelphi corridor shot at a private car. Two children were hit.

3. 'Palestinian' terrorists attacked an IDF patrol in the Philadelphi corridor area.

Thus far, 26 wounded people have been brought to Soroka Hospital in Beer Sheva by bus.

Israel Matzav also reports that the 'red group' is fighting a gun battle. No real details. Just that it's still going on.

Needless to say, if it turns out that mortar fire did come from Egypt, and that Egyptian soldiers were involved, this event could turn out to be even much more serious than it already is.

Update: Israel Strikes Back

Update 2: An Al Jazeera English producer who was very accurate during the Egyptian uprising tweets that two Egyptian conscripts are dead at the border, but that he can't get any confirmation that it was the Israelis that did the killing (H/t - Gabriel Malor)

Egypt security sources: Bus ambush unlikely to have come from here
>Barak: IDF will hunt down perpetrators of Eilat attack

Posted by Richard at August 18, 2011 8:05 AM

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