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April 5, 2012 9:33 am
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Rocket Fire Hits Southern Israel as Attention Turns to Sinai

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North Beach, Eilat, Israel. Photo: wiki commons.

Speaking at an event which marked the 40 year anniversary of a hostage rescue operation in which he was shot and wounded as a commando, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded publicly to the rocket fire that hit Eilat on Thursday morning.

“We are seeing now with Eilat that the Sinai Peninsula is turning into a terror zone,” he said. “We cannot grant immunity to terror, we must fight against it.”

“Israel must always fight terrorism, he added. It will not stop if we do not fight it.”

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Residents of Eilat, which is one of Israel’s most frequented tourist locations and is the country’s southernmost city, reportedly heard three explosions on Thursday.  Police found one rocket and are continuing their search for others.

“We are studying the incident and will strike the people who fired on Eilat and attempted to harm Israeli citizens,” Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak said.

“There will be no compromises,” he continued.

Cairo’s Director of Security told Egyptian media that Thursday’s incident did not emanate from the Sinai, an area that Egyptian security forces monitor on a regular basis.

“The situation in the southern sector is excellent. There are regular patrols and stakeouts across all roads. If anyone seems suspect they are stopped for inspections meant to stop any terrorist elements from entering the area,” he said.

Also on Thursday, U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro noted the threats to Israel’s security from the Sinai and Gaza while on a visit to an Iron Dome battery stationed in the southern part of the Jewish state.  He also spoke of President Obama’s commitment to Israeli security, noting the White House’s recent request for more U.S. funding for Iron Dome installations.

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  • Prayers for the residents of Eilat. It is still unclear where the rocket actually came from.

    The issue with the Sinai is that there needs to be more co-operation with the Egyptian authorities. Obviously Egypt is in difficult transition stage, but it is in Israel and the West’s interest for the civic institutions of the nascent modern state of Egypt to be defined, established and worked with. The Sinai is also such a beautiful part of the world that it would be a tragedy if people could not travel there in safety and peace. So the Land of the Pharaohs and the Holy Land should be good neighbours. The meeting currently going in Washington DC between President Obama and representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood does hold promise, no matter what the cynics say. If a long term vision for the Middle East is heeded and the right command and control structure established the desert, and the land that Moses and the Jews spent forty years in all those years ago, will really bloom.

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