World Bulletin/News Desk
An armed group based in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula has claimed responsibility for a rocket attack on the Israeli resort city of Eilat early Tuesday.
Before dawn on Tuesday, Israel said that its Iron Dome defense system had intercepted and destroyed a rocket fired from Sinai at the Red Sea town of Eilat.
In an online statement, the self-styled 'Majlis Shura al-Mujahedeen fi Aknaf Beit al-Muqdas' ('The Mujahedeen Shura Council in Al-Quds') – a little-known, Sinai-based group – said the attack came in retaliation for the killing of four of its members in a Friday raid in Sinai, which, the group alleged, had been carried out by an Israeli pilotless drone.
"Lions of the group succeeded in firing a Grad rocket at occupied Um al-Rashrash [the Arabic name of Eilat] at 1am on Tuesday," the group said in a statement published on its website.
"The panic that ensued following the rocket's penetration of the Iron Dome system forced [Israeli] officials to issue confused statements regarding the number of rockets that struck the city," the group added. "Some even went so far as to say three rockets were fired."
On Friday, four fighters were killed in an attack said to have targeted a rocket launcher operated in the North Sinai city of Rafah.
Sinai-based armed groups claim that an Israeli unmanned aerial drone was behind the attack, noting that the fighters were targeted as they prepared to fire rockets towards Israeli territory.
The Egyptian army, for its part, has said that one of its military helicopters – not an Israeli drone – had destroyed the rocket launcher in southern Rafah's Arjaa district after spotting gunmen moving toward it.
A military spokesman dismissed reports of security coordination between Egypt's military establishment and its Israeli counterpart as "baseless, insane and illogical."
Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, meanwhile, has asserted that Israel "respects Egypt's full sovereignty," stressing that his country would not allow "rumors and speculation" to harm the 1979 peace treaty between Cairo and Tel Aviv.Last Mod: 13 Ağustos 2013, 11:59