Israeli goes on highest terror alert after a string of terrorist attacks still ongoing near the Israeli-Egyptian border north of Eilat Thursday, Aug. 18 left seven Israeli soldiers and civilians dead and 33 injured. Five servicemen are in critical condition. The assailants who may have crossed in from Sinai used automatic, anti-tank weapons, mortars and roadside bombs for separate attacks on two buses and civilian and military vehicles on Highway 12 near the Israeli-Egyptian Sinai border.
All three gunmen who attacked the bus were killed in a firefight with the Israeli police force. Some 20 terrorists are estimated to have taken part in the attacks. Israeli military sources estimated that 20 terrorists took part in the attacks – some reaching their targets through Israel, others providing them with mortar cover from Sinai. Four were killed. Some of their bodies were rigged with explosives.
All the highways to Eilat are closed to traffic as the entire southern region is scoured for more terrorists and bombs.
debkafile reported earlier: A special police force located the gunmen who shot up two Israeli buses north of Eilat, Israel's southern most town and port, and engaged them in a firefight. Casualties are reported.
The gunmen first attacked an Israeli Egged bus north of Eilat, injuring at least six passengers Thursday morning. The 392 bus carrying mostly soldiers on leave from Beersheba to Eilat came under automatic fire on Highway 12 as it passed the Netafim checkpoint on the Israeli-Egyptian border of Sinai from attackers who jumped out of a private vehicle which had been trailing the bus. The second bus and other passing vehicles were attacked with an anti-tank weapon. An army vehicle was then blown up by a roadside bomb and another came under fire.
debkafile's military sources: This week the Egyptian army launched a major counter-terror operation against Islamists terrorizing the peninsula and its borderlands.
Whether he attackers came from Sinai or the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip has not been finally determined.