Eight Dead, 31 wounded, one in critical condition
Multiple terror attacks rocks south
Aug 18, 2011 - Four terror attacks near Eilat claim seven lives, leave 31 injured as passenger bus, military patrol and private car targeted; IDF kills seven terrorists. Security forces declare high alert in southern sector.
Terrorists armed with heavy weapons, guns and explosives launched four attacks in quick succession in southern Israel near the border with Egypt‘s Sinai Peninsula on Thursday, killing at least seven people and wounding 31 more, officials said.
The assailants targeted a passenger bus, a military patrol and a private car. "We are talking about a terror squad that infiltrated into Israel," said IDF spokeswoman Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich. "This is a combined terrorist attack against Israelis."
The manhunt for the terrorists continues as an official reported around 6 pm forces had found another attack site with explosive devices at ready. Defense officials say the cell that committed the attack was comprised of 10-20 terrorists, and security forces succeeded in killing seven. An explosive device was found on one of the bodies, and an additional terrorist was seen escaping into Egypt.
Officials believe the cell was planning a more extensive attack but quick responses by the IDF and special forces prevented additional casualties.
The attacks began around 12 pm, when a cell of three terrorists opened fire on Egged bus 392, heading for Eilat. Witnesses say the three, dressed in army uniforms, opened a barrage of fire on the bus, which was packed full of passengers.
Authorities suspect the terrorists emerged from a white car that was following the bus. They exited the car and began spraying the bus with bullets, firing from top to bottom.
Soldiers who were on the bus returned fire, and then began to treat the wounded. The bus stopped when it reached an IDF checkpoint at Netafim junction.
A second attack, which took place at around 12:30 pm, took place near the Egyptian border. Explosive devices were detonated with the aim of hitting an IDF force headed towards the scene of the first attack. The IDF says there were a number of casualties.
In a third attack, which took place at 12:40 pm, a mortar shell exploded near a vehicle. No one was hurt.
In a fourth attack, which took place at 1:30 pm, terrorists fired at another bus and a private vehicle. In addition, an anti-tank missile was fired at the bus, but hit the private vehicle instead, killing those inside.
After the fourth attack special forces fired at the terrorists and clashes ensued. A number of terrorists were killed, according to reports.
According to the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, an IDF force that arrived at the scene of the first attack hit an explosive device, and soldiers were injured. IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen Benny Gants and Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino are en route to GOC Southern Command, where they will confer with Southern Command Chief Major-General Tal Russo.
Military officials say the attack was well-planned, and that the terrorists were well-coordinated throughout. Aside from rifles, the gunmen also had a number of missiles at their disposal, and the army fears they may have been planning to kidnap a soldier.