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August 13, 2013 3:41 pm

Israel’s Defense Minister Reassures Eilat Residents Following Rocket Attack, City’s Tourists Defiant

avatar by Zach Pontz

North Beach, in Eilat. Photo: WikiCommons.

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon assured residents of Eilat on Tuesday that their daily routines should continue as
normal following the interception by the Iron Dome missile defense system of a rocket fired from the Sinai towards the coastal city overnight by terrorists.

“Assuming there is a threat from Sinai, and whether or not a warning alarm is sounded, we operate under the assumption that terrorist activity in Sinai may extend over to Eilat and other communities on the Sinai border. For this reason we placed the Iron Dome battery [in Eilat] a month ago,” Ya’alon said during a tour of the northern border with Lebanon.

Ya’alon said IDF forces along the border with Egypt’s Sinai had been bolstered to defend Israel’s citizens.

Visitors to Israel’s southern city, a major destination for holidaymakers, currently at the height of tourist season, said they planned to continue “vacationing” as normal, despite the attack.

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“As a Jerusalemite I’m not used to such things,” one Israeli woman, who was vacationing with her family, told Israel’s Channel 2. “But there’s no way we’ll cancel our holiday. We will continue as usual, no terrorist organization will destroy our freedom, we came to enjoy and we’ll continue to do so.”

According to Channel 2, hotels in Eilat are near capacity because of the Summer season. Shabtai Shai, director of the Eilat Hotels Association, said that occupancy was currently at around 85% and all indications showed that new reservations were coming in at the usual pace.

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