Israel came under attack from terrorists staging out of Egypt and Gaza—an attack that shows what a new Egypt-Israeli war might look like.
Three coordinated attacks
Two Tzahal (Israel Defense Force) soldiers walk casually on the Golan Heights.
The attacks took place in the southern tip of the Negev, near Eilat (site of ancient Etzion-Geber). A bus carrying mostly Tzahal soldiers on leave from Beersheba to Eilat came under attack first. Three gunmen, two of them wearing Egyptian camouflage fatigues, attacked Egged Bus 392 in the early morning. The driver sped up and drove away while many soldiers returned fire through the windows. The attackers all died, but not before they killed one passenger and wounded seven others.
Half an hour later, another terrorist squad fired a rocket-propelled grenade at another bus. Forty minutes after that, a private car (or a military vehicle; reports differ) ran over a roadside bomb. Six civilians, including two small children, died in that attack.
The Tzahal sealed off Eilat and set up checkpoints at Beersheba. Reports say that the Tzahal and/or the police killed seven terrorists at the scenes.
Magen David Adom, the Israeli substitute for the Red Cross, responded at once. They also sent out a plea for donations, including their own description of the incidents.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to retaliate.
This was a grave incident in which Israelis and Israeli sovereignty were harmed. Israel will respond accordingly.
The Tzahal released their own statement, plus a gallery of photographs. The Tzahal chief of staff, Lead General (Rav Aluf) Benny Ganz, was on the scene to take personal command.
The United Nations, and the “security” forces of Hamas (Islamic Resistance Movement), evacuated their respective headquarters in Gaza. A few hours later, the Israeli Air Force bombed and strafed the strongholds of the Popular Resistance Committees, a group allegedly separate and apart from Hamas. The PRC later announced that their commander, his deputy, and three other adults had died in the air raid. Local sources said that a nine-year-old child (boy or girl; again, reports differ), the son (or daughter) of the owner of one of the houses, also died.
Egyptian troops shot two other terrorists, according to the Tzahal.
What does this really mean?
Israel is not at war with Egypt—this time. Maybe someone in Gaza wanted that to happen. (Why else would two of the terrorists wear Egyptian uniforms?) But the Tzahal (IDF) and the Egyptian army were too smart for them.
Eilat is exactly where the Egyptians would attack, if they wanted to. Eilat is a port city on the Gulf of Aqaba. It’s not much of a port, and most people regard it as strictly a resort town. Access to it is by car, bus or air.
The Six-Day War of 1967 began when Egypt closed the Straits of Tiran, at the mouth of the Gulf of Aqaba. That cut off Eilat from the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean.
Today, the Egyptian military want to honor the Camp David Treaty with Israel. Whether that will hold after the next elections in Egypt is anyone’s guess.
Several members of the Knesset were saying even before today’s events that the Tzahal ought to re-occupy the Gaza Strip, or at least part of it nearest the Egyptian border. The border of the Strip is part of the 1949 Armistice Line. Within it is Gaza City, the last of the Five Cities of the Philistines not under Israeli control. (The other four are Eklon, Ashdod, Ashkelon, and Gath.)
A large proportion of Israeli voters have often said that Israel should recapture the Gaza Strip and keep it. Today’s incidents are the second such incident this year. In April, militants staging out of Gaza fired an anti-tank weapon at a school bus.
Featured image: the Flag of Israel