AUDACIOUS EILAT ASSAULT
On Thursday 08/18/2011 at about 12:00 a terror squad, comprised of three men, opened fire on a Israeli civilian bus no 392 from Beer Sheva to the Israeli southern resort town of Eilat, about 20 km North of town, where the road runs along the Egyptian border. The attackers, dressed as Egyptian soldiers, opened fire on the bus and wounded 7 bus passengers, most of them soldiers on their way home from military bases in the area. The bus driver spurred the bus and managed to escape the ambush.
Minutes after, at about 12:15, probably the same squad, opened fire on a second bus and a suicide bomber detonated his explosive belt just in front the bus killing the driver. The bus was empty and was burnt down. Another terrorist opened fire on a private car on an Israeli family heading to a weekend in Eilat and killed all 4 passengers of the car.
Five minutes later, at about 12:20, another civilian private car arrived to the scene with a couple. The terrorists killed the man but the woman, who was wounded by the fire, pretended to be dead and managed to survive. A third private car was also hit by bullets fired from the Egyptian side. The car was hit by 4 bullets but miraculously nobody was harmed in the car.
In the meantime Israeli and Egyptian forces arrived to the scene that was heavily booby trapped. Egyptian soldiers killed 2 militants operating on the Egyptian side of the border as the militants were shooting RPG rockets toward Israeli helicopters and toward Israeli army vehicles with reinforcement. In the exchange of fire an Israeli soldier was killed and four Islamic terrorists.
There was an alert in the region of a possible terror attack and special police units as well as elite infantry were positioned in and around the town of Eilat. Few minutes before the attack the Jordanian intelligence issued an alert of an imminent attack in neighboring Israeli town of Eilat (see also – Aqaba 08.02.10 ).
The intelligence indication affiliated the attack to Gaza’s Al Qaeda inspired groups’ known generally as Jaljalat, who took advantage of the chaos in Sinai and the Egyptian diminishing authority, and allied themselves to elements of Al Qaeda and local Bedouin tribes to commit the attack. The Jihadi squads, mainly from the Army of Islam, which was designated by USA just one day earlier as a terror group, and the Popular Resistance committees – PRC, left Gaza through Rafah Tunnels and with the help of locals planned and executed the attack 200 km away from Gaza Strip.
Israeli army estimated that at least 15 Jihadi militants were involved in the event and many others in supporting and facilitating the attack.
Despite the gloomy result it was probably one of the rare cases that Israeli. Jordanian and Egyptian forces supported each other, updated each other and were coordinated – probably an indication that chaos and militancy is now the common enemy of all moderate regimes in the Middle East and not, necessarily, Israel. No doubt that EGYPTS REVOLUTION has a security impact on Israel too (see –Meast 08/2011 Report).
In response Israeli Air Force struck, at about midnight, 12 terrorist targets in Gaza Strip, mainly affiliated to the organizations that were involved in the Eilat assault. The military leader of the Popular Resistance committees – PRC Kamal al-Nairab (pic), his deputy, Immad Hammad, and three other PRC senior members, including two who were involved in the abduction of the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in 06/2006, were killed in Thursday’s air strike on a home in the southern Gaza town of Rafah (see also – Muhammad J. al-Nimnim). Later on Friday 08/19/2011, another PRC commander Samed Abdul Muty Abed, was killed by a Israeli missile while driving a motorbike in the center of Gaza Strip.
Following the Israeli air strikes a hail of missiles hit the towns of Ashdod, Beer Sheba (see also -Beer Sheva 08.22.08 ) , Ashkelon and the smaller Sdot Negev, Shaar Hanegev and Eshkol villages in a continuous blitz. The next day, Friday 08/19/2011, 10 worshippers were injured – two seriously – when one of the six Grads aimed at Ashdod hit a synagogue. Police in Ashdod detonated a second Grad in a controlled explosion. The town’s population is advised to stay in sheltered spaces. Iron Dome, an anti-rocket system, is in action in Ashkelon. Red alerts have sounded in Gedera, Kiryat Gat and Gan Yavne about 30 km from Gaza Strip.
* IDF inquiry shows at least three of the terrorists that perpetrated attack were Egyptians who escaped Egyptian prison in the early days of the Revolution in late 01/2011 (see – Egypt’s Mass Jail Breakout). They were members of Egyptian radical Islamic groups. Clips, radio communication show IDF did everything in its power to prevent Egyptian troops from getting hurt.
The evidence shows that contrary to Egyptian media reports, the IDF’s attack helicopters avoided hitting Egyptian military vehicles and troops stationed at the border. The Egyptian terrorists joined Palestinian operatives from the Popular Resistance Committees – PRC and together they perpetrated the coordinated attacks. Israel also has further proof that joint Palestinian-Egyptian terror cells were in Sinai for weeks and were assisted by Bedouins in the region.
It said he was the “field commander” of the August 2011 cross border attack that killed eight Israelis. Tawfiq Freij moved to Cairo in early 2013, and was in charge of the failed attack on the interior minister in September 2013.
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