Netanyahu blames Gaza 'terrorist cell' for Eilat attacks

Ahram Online , Sunday 21 Apr 2013

Israel's PM Benjamin Netanyahu claims Gazan group launched rocket attacks on Israeli city from Sinai

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem April 21, 2013 (Photo: Reuters)

The office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement on Sunday that included comments on the issue of missiles fired at Eilat, apparently from Egyptian territory, on Wednesday.

"Last week, missiles were fired at Eilat from Sinai. Those responsible, apparently, were members of a terrorist cell that left Gaza and used Sinai in order to attack an Israeli city," the statement quoted Netanyahu as saying during the weekly cabinet.

"This is unacceptable. We will exact a price for this; this has been our consistent policy for the past four years and it will serve us here as well. I request that Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon present a short briefing on the issue."

Ofir Gendelman, Netanyahu's spokesperson, had posted the remarks on his official account on Twitter.

The Israeli army and police said that at least two rockets fired from Egypt's Sinai Peninsula exploded in the Israeli Red Sea resort of Eilat on Wednesday, causing no casualties.  

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which prompted telephone consultations between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu -- in London for the funeral of the late British premier Margaret Thatcher -- and the security establishment on "how to react to the (rocket) fire," AFP quoted his office as saying.

Israeli military sources said the vaunted Iron Dome anti-missile system, which was recently deployed around Eilat, did not engage to intercept the rockets.

"Egyptian lands are not and will not become a source of threats to neighbouring states," an Egyptian military spokesman asserted on the same day.

Egyptian military spokesman Colonel Ahmed Mohamed Ali said via Facebook that the Egyptian Army had dispatched technical teams to Sinai to investigate claims that the rockets had been launched from the peninsula.

A Salafist group, the 'Lions of the Mujahedeen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem,' allegedly claimed Wednesday's attack, AFP reported.

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