Several rockets were fired at Israel’s port town of Eilat from Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula on Wednesday night, with the Iron Dome interception system shooting down three while a fourth landed in an open area, according to the Israeli army.
The Islamic State (ISIS) claimed responsibility for firing multiple rockets on Eilat from Sinai yesterday. However, there were no reports of any casualties.
Sinai Province, an affiliated group to ISIS, said they fired six rockets at Eilat, the southernmost part of Israel.
On the other hand, the Southern Command of the IDF said only four missiles were fired from Egypt, of which three were shot down by the Iron Dome, a mobile all-weather air defense system installed in southern Israel.
An Israeli army spokesperson said the Iron Dome did not intercept the fourth rocket as it was headed towards an open field.
Eilat Police confirmed that none of the rockets fell within city limits and no one was injured in the attack.
According to local officials said at least four people were treated for shock in Eilat’s hospital following the rocket strikes.
The Eilat port town has repeatedly come under missile attacks from Sinai Peninsula, where militants are active there.
The last time rocket alert sirens sounded in Eilat was on December 13, 2016, when a failed attack was claimed by the Sinai Province.
Violence and unrest have escalated in Northern Sinai as the Egyptian military and police forces have been the target of ongoing attacks which have increased after the ouster of Egypt’s first democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi by a military coup in 2013.
Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, the militant group responsible for a majority of attacks on military personnel, aligned with the Islamic State group in November 2014, changing its name to “Sinai Province”.
Sinai Province has targeted Egypt’s security forces in various attacks, mostly roadside bombings, and ambushes, as well as operations against security checkpoints.
As a result, the Egyptian armed forces launched an excessive campaign to uproot ISIS from the eastern peninsula bordering Israel and the Palestinian Gaza Strip.
In this context, the Egyptian-Israeli security cooperation has flourished in an unprecedented way over the past three years.
As security conditions deteriorated in Sinai, “Israel and Egypt have worked closely to combat the burgeoning insurgency in the peninsula over the past three years,”said David Schenker, the director of Program on Arab Politics at Washington Institute.
At the most basic level, Israel has allowed modifications to the security annex of the Camp David Accords.In two dozen occasions” Israel allowed Egypt to deploy troops and equipment, including aircraft that were previously prohibited by the treaty,” said David Schenker.
On the other hand, the Israeli Air Force is taking part in the attacks against ISIS in Sinai and the IDF’s Military Intelligence Unit 8200 is assisting Egyptian forces to collect and decipher information about Sinai Province, according to foreign reports.
In this context, it has been revealed that Israeli drones have been given permission by the Egyptians to strike targets in the Sinai Peninsula. This claim came one week after similar remarks that were made by a retired Israeli official, who revealed that Israel’s drone attacks during the previous year were planned in full cooperation with the Egyptian army.
In addition, intelligence sharing about threats in the peninsula is also boomed– in 2016 Major General Yair Golan, Israel’s Deputy Chief of Staff, described it as “unprecedented.”
Moreover, Israel and Egypt also appear to be cooperating more closely beyond the intelligence sharing and the revisions to Camp David.
According to Schenker, Israel and Egypt have cooperated on the borders mainly in detecting and destructing tunnels from the peninsula into Gaza.
The Egyptian regime and Israel have claimed that these tunnels are utilized by Hamas, among others, to smuggle weapons and personnel.
Furthermore, the most notable security cooperation between both countries mentioned by David Schenker that “Egypt has reportedly allowed Israel carte blanche to deploy unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) over the Sinai, with the authority to target Islamist militants at will.”