Assailants armed with heavy weapons, guns, and explosives launched three attacks in quick succession in southern Israel near the border with Egypt's Sinai Peninsula today, killing at least five people and wounding about a dozen more, officials say. The rare violence in that part of the country targeted a passenger bus, a military patrol, and a private car. Channel 10 TV reported a fourth attack, but there was no official confirmation or details. The military said a "large number" of assailants were working in multiple squads.
"We are talking about a terror squad that infiltrated into Israel," says an Israeli military spokeswoman. "This is a combined terrorist attack against Israelis." The violence near the resort city of Eilat stoked concerns about growing lawlessness in neighboring Sinai following the ouster in February of Egypt's Hosni Mubarak. "The incident underscores the weak Egyptian hold on Sinai and the broadening of the activities of terrorists," Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said in a statement. "The real source of the terror is in Gaza and we will act against them with full force and determination."