Intelligence community briefings addressing the situation along Israel’s border with Sinai in recent weeks warned of an increasingly likelihood of escalated terror activities in the area. On Wednesday morning 7 Iyar 5773 about 08:58, those warnings were realized when air raid sirens sounded in the southern resort city of Eilat for a first time. The sounding of the sirens set a new and most unwanted precedent in a city that counts on tourism for its primary income.
Katyusha rockets fired from Sinai landed in the city, and B’chasdei Hashem there were no fatalities or serious injuries. Egyptian officials continue to deny the rocket fire originated in Sinai but in Israel, official appear all but certain the rockets came from Egypt.
While the intelligence assessments led to the decision to set an Iron Dome rocket defense unit near Eilat about ten days ago. While the system detected the incoming rockets, the decision was made not to fire to down them. The failure of the Iron Dome to respond is under investigation.
Yediot Achronot points out the city’s sirens are not activated automatically, but manually, due to a request from Mayor Meir Levy who fears that if the system is automated there will be false alarms and this could have a major negative impact on tourism.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)