Rockets explode in Eilat, Aqaba; casualties in Jordan
(Video) Rocket apparently fired by terrorists in Sinai explodes in open area in Israel's southernmost city; three more land in Red Sea; another rocket hits Aqaba, killing one person and injuring five. Peres: Attack part of struggle between moderates, extremists
VIDEO - Five rockets were fired towards Eilat and the Jordanian port city of Aqaba Monday morning. There were no reports of injury or damage in Eilat. One of the projectiles landed in an open area in Israel's southernmost city, three more landed in the Red Sea - two of them in Jordanian territory - while a fifth rocket hit Aqaba.
Jordanian authorities said a Grad rocket landed near vehicles parked at the entrance to the InterContinental Hotel in Aqaba. Local media outlets reported that five people were injured in the attack. One of them, 40-year-old Subhi al-Alauna, died of his wounds several hours later. The rest of those wounded in the attack are said to be in light condition. The hotel's public relations director told Ynet it was not damaged.
The IDF estimates the rockets were fired from Egypt's Sinai Peninsula by Global Jihad terrorists. Large police forces have been dispatched to the scene.
However, Egyptian security officials said the attack did not originate in the Sinai Peninsula.
"Firing rockets from Egypt requires extensive logistical preparations and a lot of equipment. This is impossible because Sinai is heavily secured," one official said.
Residents reported hearing loud explosions at around 7:55 am. Avi Cohen, an Eilat resident, witnessed a number of the rocket hits. He told Ynet, "There was a series of booms. The building shook a little. There is a lot of complacency in the city at the moment, but if rockets fired from Sinai start exploding here, this is liable to ruin the tourist economy during the best month of the year. We mustn't forget that the French are on their way."
Damage caused in Aqaba, Jordan (Photo: Reuters)
Eilat Mayor Yitzhak Halevy told reporters Monday afternoon that security forces have yet to find any trace of a Grad rocket in the city.
According to the mayor, the tourists are not leaving the city and the rescue forces are trained and prepared for the possibility of rocket fire.
"The hotels and pools are full, and traffic at the airports is normal. I spoke with security officials, and I can say that things are under control," he said.
Earlier, Halevy told Ynet, "Fundamentalist movements are trying to sow mayhem in the area."
President Shimon Peres said in response to the attack, "There is a real struggle in the Middle East between the peace camp of the moderate countries and the camp of extremists looking to destroy any chance of peace."
Eilat, the Jordanian port of Aqaba and nearby Egyptian Red Sea resorts have in the past seen violence perpetrated at the hands of Islamist terrorists.
At least one rocket struck Aqaba on April 22, causing no casualties. Amman said the rocket had been fired from outside Jordan and Israeli media spoke of the Egyptian Sinai as a possible launch point.
In 2005, rockets were fired at US warships in Aqaba's port but missed their target and killed a Jordanian soldier on land. A group claiming links to al-Qaeda said it was behind the attack.
Two years later, a Palestinian suicide bomber infiltrated through the Sinai and killed three people at an Eilat bakery.
Jordan and Egypt are the only Arab states to have full peace accords with Israel. Those ties were frayed by Israel's crackdown in 2000 on a Palestinian uprising in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Hanan Greenberg, Boaz Fyler, Reuters and Atilla Somfalvi contributed to the report
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