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Jordan May Have Also Been Struck in Rocket Attack

The Jordanian port city of Aqaba may also have been struck Wednesday morning in a rocket attack launched from Sinai.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 4/17/2013, 11:03 AM

Eilat, across from Aqaba
Eilat, across from Aqaba
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The Jordanian port city of Aqaba may also have been struck Wednesday morning in a rocket attack launched from Sinai.

Security personnel in the Jordanian city, which faces its Israeli counterpart, Eilat, said on condition of anonymity that two rockets exploded in the city, according to a report broadcast on Israel’s Army Radio.

Official Jordanian sources denied the report. “All military and security services in Aqaba have confirmed that nothing happened in Aqaba,” Amer Sartawi, spokesman for the Public Security Department, told AFP. “It was only on the other side.”

The attack came at about the same time two rockets slammed into Israel’s Red Sea resort town. One of the rockets landed in the back yard of a private home. 

The second rocket exploded in an open area, authorities said. A number of residents and others suffered shock following the sound of multiple explosions, which came at about 9:00 a.m.

No physical injuries or property damage were reported.

An Iron Dome anti-missile battery deployed on the outskirts of the city did not activate, though it is not clear why.

“Due to operational circumstances the battery located in the area did not intercept the incoming rockets,” a source told AFP, but gave no further explanation.

Eilat was also struck by rocket fire a number of times last year in attacks launched from Sinai, at least one of which was claimed by an Islamist group calling itself Ansar Jerusalem.

Authorities ordered a temporary closure of the local Eilat airport as a safety precaution, and a flight to the area from Ben Gurion International Airport was canceled.

However, schools in Israel’s southernmost Negev city remained opened despite the rocket fire.

The Iron Dome battery has been in place on the outskirts of Eilat since the beginning of the month in anticipation of exactly such an attack.

Military sources said the growing lawlessness and increase of terrorist bases in the Sinai Peninsula all pointed to the need for deployment of an anti-missile system in the area.