The ISIS-affiliated terror group, Sinai Province, said that it fired three Grad rockets on Friday which landed in Israel, triggering rocket warning sirens in local communities.
At about 4.30pm, sirens were sounded in a number of communities close to the Israel-Egypt border. Israeli security forces subsequently said that two rockets were found in open areas in the Negev region. No injuries or damage were reported. Sinai Province announced via social media that it had fired three Grads at “occupied Palestine.” Eshkol Regional Council head Gadi Yarkoni responded saying, “I trust the army and am certain that it will take all necessary measures to protect communities in the South.”
The rocket fire came just two days after Sinai Province carried out a series of sophisticated, coordinated attacks on Egyptian security personnel near Israel’s border in the Sinai Peninsula, killing dozens of Egyptian servicemen. Egypt’s security forces have since hit back and reported yesterday that air strikes killed 63 Islamists fighters in northern Sinai, which borders both Israel and the Gaza Strip.
Sinai Province is thought to be a manifestation of the Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis group, which last year pledged allegiance to ISIS. Since the ousting of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt in 2013, the group has targeted the regime of President al-Sisi, persistently attacking Egyptian military forces in Sinai. Although the regime in Cairo has been the primary target for Ansar, the group has also made clear that it is committed to attacking Israel. 18 months ago, two rockets were fired by the group on Eilat, Israel’s southernmost city.
Following Wednesday’s attacks in Sinai, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu emphasised “we are together with Egypt and many other states in the Middle East and the world in the struggle against extreme Islamic terrorism.” As a precaution, Israel closed the Nitzana and Kerem Shalom border crossings for a time and also temporarily closed Route 12 to civilian traffic. Meanwhile, Israel is thought to have increased its intelligence gathering efforts in the area.