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Israel Pounds Gaza After Deadly Attacks Near Eilat 

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Old 08-19-2011, 01:33 AM
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Israel Pounds Gaza After Deadly Attacks Near Eilat


The Israeli military has carried out air strikes over the Gaza Strip, targeting those it blamed for a series of deadly attacks in southern Israel.

At least six people, including a senior militant, were killed in the air strikes, Palestinian sources said.

Earlier, Israeli officials promised a strong response after attacks on vehicles near Eilat left seven dead.

Israeli officials said Gazan militants were responsible, although Gaza's Hamas government denied involvement.

The Israeli air strike hit a house in the town of Rafah.

Palestinian sources told the BBC that four members of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), a faction in Gaza that is loyal to Hamas but sometimes operates separately, had been killed in the air strikes, including the group's head, Kamal al-Nairab.

PRC military chief Immad Hammad and the son of the owner of the house were also among those killed, Palestinian sources and residents said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said those killed were responsible for the attacks earlier in the day near Eilat.

"The people who gave the order to murder our people and hid in Gaza are no longer among the living," he said in a televised address.

"If anyone thinks the state of Israel will resign itself to this, they are wrong."

The PRC denied involvement in the attacks in Israel, Reuters reported.

Further air strikes took place in the early hours of Friday morning.

A spokesman for Israel's domestic security agency, Shin Bet, said several of those who died in the air strikes had been involved in the 2006 kidnapping of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

Hamas-run Al-Aqsa television reported that security forces in Gaza had evacuated their headquarters in anticipation of Israeli military action.

The attacks near Eilat, a southern resort city, began when gunmen opened fire on a bus.

Israeli officials said at least two other vehicles were then hit nearby - one by a rocket and one by an explosive device.

They said that the attacks left seven Israelis dead and that a number of gunmen were killed in an ensuing firefight.

In response, Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak said: "The real source of the terror is in Gaza and we will act against them with full force and determination."

Hamas, which governs Gaza, denied responsibility, and said it would retaliate if Israel attacked.

"We will not stand handcuffed and we will spearhead resistance to the occupation," Hamas official Salah Al-Bardaweel was quoted as saying.

The US, the EU and the UN condemned the attacks in Israel.

"We condemn the brutal terrorist attacks in southern Israel today in the strongest terms," the White House said in a statement.

A UN spokesman said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was "concerned at the risk of escalation and calls for all to act with restraint".

Israeli officials said the men who attacked the vehicles near Eilat came from the Gaza Strip and had entered Israel through Egypt's Sinai desert.

There has been growing concern about a decline in security in Sinai since Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was toppled in February.

"This violence only underscores our strong concerns about the security situation in the Sinai Peninsula," said US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

"Recent commitments by the Egyptian government to address the security situation in the Sinai are important and we urge the Egyptian government to find a lasting resolution."

An Israeli official said gunfire on either side of the border was continuing into the evening.

Late on Thursday, Egyptian officials said at least two Egyptians were killed near the border in northern Sinai.

Details of the deaths were unclear, though there were reports that gunmen had attacked a police post.

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Old 08-19-2011, 02:33 AM
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Re: Israel Pounds Gaza After Deadly Attacks Near Eilat

I found a timeline of the events leading up to this:

"• Noon – Three men open fire at Egged bus No. 392 traveling on Highway 12 between Eilat and Mitzpe Ramon. The terrorists, who infiltrated from Egypt, wore military vests and were armed with assault rifles, roadside bombs and suicide bomb belts. At least 10 passengers were wounded.

• 12:20 p.m.– One of the terrorists opens fire at a bus driving by with no passengers and detonates an explosives belt, killing himself and the bus driver. Another infiltrator fires a rocket-propelled grenade at an IAF helicopter but misses.

• 12:25 p.m.– One of the two attackers still alive opens fire at a passing car, killing four people. He then opens fire at another vehicle, killing a female driver. A jeep from the Golani Brigade arrives and runs over one of the terrorists. Another IDF jeep arrives and as the soldiers get out of the vehicle, the last terrorist opens fire, hitting the soldiers and killing 22-year-old Golani St. Sgt. Moshe Naftali, from Ofra.

• 12:30-1 p.m.– Soldiers and members of the police’s elite YAMAM Counterterrorism Unit locate the remaining attacker, a gun battle ensues and the terrorist is killed.

• 1:30-2:30 p.m.– Two other terrorists open fire at the troops from within Egyptian territory. The troops return fire and kill the gunmen.

The Egyptian military reports to the IDF that its soldiers have killed two additional terrorists in Sinai.

• 3 p.m.– Defense Minister Ehud Barak says that the attackers originated in the Gaza Strip and that the military will respond “forcefully and decisively.”

• 6:30 p.m.– Acting on intelligence provided by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), the Israel Air Force strikes in the southern Gaza Strip, killing six Palestinians including the head of the Popular Resistance Committees and several other senior operatives.

• 7 p.m.– Shots are fired at soldiers along the border, likely from Egypt. One soldier is seriously wounded and evacuated to Soroka University Medical Center in Beersheba.

• 9 p.m.– The Iron Dome system intercepts a Katyusha rocket fired toward Ashkelon"

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