Daily Israel Report

IDF Finds Unexploded Grad Near Eilat

The IDF has found a second Grad rocket from the attack launched on Eilat from Sinai on Thursday.
By Gabe Kahn
First Publish: 4/7/2012, 8:20 PM

Remains of Grad that hit EIlat
Remains of Grad that hit EIlat
Israel Police

The IDF on Saturday announced it had found an unexploded Grad rocket near Eilat – two days after another rocket fired from Egypt's Sinai Peninsula hit the southern Red Sea resort city.

"An unexploded rocket was found in an open area near Eilat," the IDF spokesperson's office said. "It appears to be an additional rocket from the Thursday incident, bringing the total confirmed rockets fired to two."

Early on Thursday a Grad rocket fired from Sinai hit Eilat, causing no physical injuries as toursists flocked to the town ahead of the week-long Jewish holiday Passover.

Senior security and defense officials placed the IDF and security services on their highest state of alert following the attack, during which three loud blasts rocked the city.

The attack prompted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to warn on Thursday that Israel would "hit those who hit us," adding "We have long seen that half the Sinai Peninsula has become a base for launching rockets at Israel."

IDF intelligence chief Aviv Kochavi noted Thursday evening that in the past two months "over ten terror infrastructures in Sinai were exposed and the attacks they planned were thwarted."

In Egypt, officials claimed the attack did not originate in Sinai.

It was the first rocket attack since the collapse of the regime of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011. Since he was toppled, a wave of unrest has swept the restive Sinai Peninsula which borders on Israel.

In August 2011, a group of gunmen from the Sinai sneaked across the border and carried out a series of deadly ambushes just north of Eilat, killing eight Israelis.

The rocket attack on Eilat came one day before the start of the Passover holiday, which commemorates the exodus of the biblical Israelites from slavery in Egypt and the forging of the Jewish nation.

No physical injuries were reported after the rockets struck Eilat, but the incident security concerns about cross border attacks and led senior defense officials to place the IDF on its highest state of alert for the holiday.

In August of 2010, five Katyusha rockets hit the city of Eilat. Two exploded in open areas and three fell into the sea. No injuries were reported.

Rockets were also fired at Eilat in April of 2010. One landed in the sea, and one hit the Jordanian city of Aqaba

The Israel-Egypt border had been relatively quiet since the two countries signed a peace agreement in 1979, but in the past year the Sinai has become a staging ground for terrorism against Israel.

Two weeks ago, the Israel Security Agency (ISA) arrested a Hamas terrorist operating in Sinai who planned to kidnap an IDF soldier and aid in a suicide bombing in Eilat.

Mahmed Abu Aadram was captured as he attempted to infiltrate into Israel with other terrorists.

In August 2011, terrorists from Sinai staged a cross-border ambush of a civilian Israeli bus on Route 12 near Eilat, killing 8 Israelis.

In early March, Israel uncovered a plan by the Popular Resistance Committees to attempt a new attack on Route 12. Israel killed the PRC head – Zuhir Qaisi – In an airstrike, which led to a dramatic exchange of fire as Gaza's terror gangs fired over 200 rockets at Israel's southern communities.

Israeli airstrikes targeting teams of terrorists launching rockets from densely populated areas killed 26, of whom at least 21 were terrorists.

IDF officials say the terror groups were attempting to use Gaza's civilians as "human shields" in violation of the rules of war.

The ceasefire brokered four days into the exchange has not come into full effect.