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Israel: Rocket fired from Egypt hits Eilat

A rocket believed to have been fired from Egypt's Sinai hit the Israeli town of Eilat.

Israel rocket eilat egypt sinaiEnlarge
A rocket was fired from Egypt's Sinai desert into the southern Israeli resort city of Eilat on April 5, 2012, according to authorities. (AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images)

A rocket fired from Egypt's Sinai desert hit the southern Israeli resort town of Eilat on Thursday, said the police, according to the Associated Press.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Sinai was becoming a "terrorism zone," according to The New York Times. He said, "We are dealing with this. We are building a security fence, but it will not stop missiles." He added, “We will strike at those who attack us."

No injuries were reported, despite the fact that the Red Sea resort town was packed with tourists ahead of Passover, said the AFP. The rocket slammed into a construction site, about 300 meters from a residential area, according to the police. Though residents reported hearing three explosions, only one rocket was found.

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The Eilat police chief, Ron Gertner, said that "based on our working estimates and the range" the rocket most likely originated in the Sinai, according to the AP.

Egyptian security forces and military aircraft were searching for militants believed to be behind the launch, though publicly the South Sinai governor, Khaled Fouda, said, "Israel has become accustomed to spreading rumors, to harm tourism," according to the AFP.

Rocket attacks from Egyptian soil are uncommon, noted the BBC. However, a wave of unrest has hit the Sinai peninsula and Israel claims that militants have become active in the region since the fall of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.

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In August last year, an armed group crossed the border into Israel and killed eight Israelis. The incident caused a diplomatic clash as Israeli forces pursuing the gunmen killed Egyptian policemen, said the BBC.

Israel has stepped up surveillance on the Egyptian border to keep out militants and illegal immigrants in recent months and is currently building an electric fence along the border, said the AP. It is expected to be finished by the end of this year.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/israel-and-palestine/120405/israel-rocket-fired-egypt-hits-eilat