An Egyptian security official said Thursday that the rocket that struck the southern Israeli city of Eilat overnight was not launched from the Sinai Peninsula, despite initial assessments to the contrary and amid reported attempts by Egyptian forces to locate those responsible for the salvo.
The Grad-type Katyusha rocket exploded near a residential area in the southern tourist spot near the border with Egypt twenty minutes after midnight; no injuries or damage were reported, but some Eilat residents were said to be suffering from shock.
Security forces found traces of the rocket near a building site in the Shahamon neighborhood, about 150 meters from a residential area, after strong explosions shook the city.
Commenting on estimations that the volley originated from the Sinai, the head of Egyptian security in the southern part of the peninsula said later Thursday that that was not the case.
Other Egyptian security officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, had said that local security forces and military aircraft were searching southeastern Sinai for militants believed to be behind the launch.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking at an event marking 40 years to the operation against the hijackers of Sabena Flight 571, said that the Sinai has long became a launching ground for terror attacks against Israeli citizens.
"We're building a fence. The fence won't stop rockets, but we'll find a solution for the rockets too," Netanyahu said, adding that Israel would "attack those who attack us and their backers, in this case as well."
In another response to the attack on Eilat, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Thursday called the strike "a serious incident."
"We're studying the incdient and we will target those who shoot at Eilat and attempt to harm Israeli citizens. There will be no compromise in the matter. The security situation in the Sinai forces us into a different kind of confrontation," Barak added.
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