Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin
Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin Photo by Emil Salman
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The head of the Shin Bet security service visited Egypt on Thursday to discuss the Grad rockets fired last week on Eilat and the neighboring Jordanian city of Aqaba, the Arabic-language daily Asharq Al-Awsat reported.

The London-based newspaper said a search is being conducted across the Sinai Peninsula for two trucks suspected of being involved in the rocket launches.

According to the report, Yuval Diskin met with senior Egyptian officials near the Cairo airport on Thursday, with a portion of the meeting attended by intelligence chief Omar Suleiman.

Last Wednesday evening, a delegation of Israeli defense officials reportedly held a meeting on the Egyptian side of the Taba border crossing, near Eilat, to coordinate efforts to locate the rocket launch cells.

According to the Asharq Al-Awsat report, the Egyptians tried to explain to Diskin that the rockets had been fired from somewhere other than Egypt, but the Shin Bet refused to respond to the claim.

On Thursday, the independent Palestinian news agency Ma'an reported that a state of emergency was declared across Sinai in connection with the search for those responsible for the rocket launches.

It also reported that a team of senior military officials arrived in Sinai with links to the investigation. It is assumed that the responsible cell is still in the peninsula.

Egypt appears to suspect Hamas of carrying out the attacks. Some Egyptian media outlets have also reported Hamas involvement, but Egyptian defense officials denied a Haaretz report based on Palestinian security sources who said the attack was the work of the commander of the Hamas military wing in Rafah, Raed al-Atar, and that he did not coordinate it with the top Hamas military commander Gaza, Ahmed al-Ja'abari.

The Egyptian officials claim that such an operation would not have been carried out without Al-Ja'abari's approval. They went on to say the rocket attack was approved by senior Hamas leadership in Damascus and coordinated with Iran.

The Hamas website reported yesterday that in the days following the rocket incident Hamas detainees in Egypt have been tortured. The group says the Egyptians are trying to extract information from the prisoners on how the rockets were smuggled into the Gaza Strip.

The Egyptians earlier reported the arrest in Sinai of Nehru Massoud, one of the heads of the Hamas military wing in Gaza.