Violence is on the rise across a span of territory covering southern Israel and the southern Gaza Strip today, after a series of attacks inside Israel left eight Israelis dead and Israeli warplanes attacked targets within Gaza killing several more. Five people in Egypt, all members of security forces, were also slain at the border.
Israel said the original attacks were coordinated by the Gaza-based Popular Resistance Committees, and responded by bombing an office of the organization. The leader and five others were reportedly killed. After Gazans fired rockets toward Israeli cities, Israel blamed Hamas and bombed Hamas facilities. Hamas says two children aged 3 and 13 were killing in the strikes.
Israeli officials confirmed that they had been informed earlier in the week about a possible terrorist attack coming out of Sinai, though internal disagreements about how serious a threat it was prevented them from preparing more seriously for it. The attacks targeted the city of Eilat, just 20 km from the Egyptian border.
Five Egyptian police were killed in Sinai as Israeli troops pursued the PRC attackers into the territory, probably caught in crossfire.
The Egyptian junta has expressed growing concern about its lack of control over the Sinai Peninsula, and has increased the number of troops operating there in recent days. A long-standing peace deal with Israel has made it extremely difficult for Egypt to deploy troops in the once-occupied peninsula.
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