‘IS’ rocket fired from Egypt hits Israel, crossing shut

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JERUSALEM: A rocket fired from Egypt’s Sinai crashed into Israel Monday, in an attack claimed by the Islamic State jihadist group, as authorities closed a border crossing over security threats, officials said.

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The incident, which did not cause injuries or major damage, came only hours before the start of the week-long Jewish Passover holiday at sundown.

“A projectile was launched from the Sinai peninsula and hit in the Eshkol regional council,” an Israeli army statement said, referring to an area in the south of the country.

“No injuries have been reported.”

IS claimed responsibility for the attack shortly after.

“Islamic State fighters shelled the Eshkol Jewish settlements in southern Palestine with a Grad missile,” the group’s self-styled Amaq news agency said in a statement.

Earlier in the day, Israel had taken the rare step of closing a major border crossing into Egypt, citing increased security threats.

Israelis holidaying in the Sinai would be allowed to return but those seeking to enter through the Taba crossing would not be permitted for the next week, a statement from the prime minister’s office said.

Israel had already on Sunday updated its warning against travel to Sinai, citing Islamist bomb attacks on Egyptian churches the same day that killed 44 people.

In February, a volley of rockets was fired from the fractious Sinai region into Israel, with the IS affiliate in the Sinai claiming responsibility.

It was the first time since 2015 that rockets had been fired at Israel from Egypt.

IS has been waging a deadly insurgency against Egyptian security forces in the Sinai but it has rarely attempted attacks against Israel.

Egypt and Jordan are the only Arab countries that have signed a peace treaty with the Jewish state. AFP

AFP/CC

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