Two rockets that were fired from the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt landed outside Eilat, the resort city on the Red Sea in southern Israel. The rockets did not cause any casualties when they landed Wednesday. Israeli police also said that the damage was limited.
Following two loud explosions and siren warnings in the city, law enforcement officials found one rocket’s remains close to a new neighborhood that is being constructed. A second rocket was found in an area that was vacant just a little further away from the city. Authorities had to close the local airport out of caution, but it was closed only for a brief period.
A recently arrived battery of Iron Dome missile defense systems were not activated to try to intercept the rockets, said army officials, citing operational circumstances that could not be discussed.
A group that has been inspired by al-Qaeda called the Mujahideen Shura Council were quick to claim responsibility for the two rockets that landed just outside Eilat. The group posted on a web site for jihadists saying it fired the two Grad rockets.
The Council also claimed it had sent previous rockets at Israel from the Gaza Strip, as well as claiming responsibility for an attack across the border from Sinai.
Groups of Islamist extremists have become increasingly active throughout the Sinai, were a high level of lawlessness has expanded since former President of Egypt Hosni Mubarak was ousted in 2011. There have been a number of attacks by gunmen on Egypt’s side of the border with Israel, including one in August of 2011 that killed eight Israelis.