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Group Tied to Al-Qaida Fired Rocket at Eilat

Fortunately, Iron Dome knocked the down missile

Adam Chandler
August 13, 2013

As we mentioned on Friday, the lawlessness in the Sinai has long been a source of worry for Israelis–among many others–since the fall of Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak in 2011. Last week, a plot against the airport in the Israeli port city of Eilat caused the facility to close and the following day, a drone strike killed four Egyptians who were reportedly planning to attack the airport with mid-range missiles and fire upon planes with portable rockets.

By that point, the IDF had already moved one of its Iron Dome batteries to the South and, earlier today, Iron Dome intercepted a missile fired at Eilat for the first time.

The rocket attack came at the height of the summer vacation season, when the city is packed with Israeli and foreign tourists. Witnesses told the Israeli news media that sirens went off after 1 a.m., and that booms were heard over the city as the rocket was intercepted.

Islamic militants operating across the Egyptian border in the southern Sinai Peninsula have fired rockets a few times at Eilat in recent years. So far, they have all fallen in empty spaces in and around the city, causing no casualties.

An Islamic militant group calling itself Majlis Shura Al-Majahedin Fi Aknaf Bayt Al-Maqdis claimed credit for the attack, saying it was revenge for the killing of four of its fighters in northern Sinai on Friday, according to Israel Radio.

Let’s see if we can put this together: An Al-Qaida affiliate in the midst of planning a terror attack on the Eilat airport gets taken out by a drone strike. Then the same group launches a rocket in retaliation for killing the terrorists who sought to attack Eilat in the first place. How long before Israel gets condemned by the United Nations?

Adam Chandler was previously a staff writer at Tablet. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, Slate, Esquire, New York, and elsewhere. He tweets @allmychandler.