|Eilat: Occasionally attacked, generally relaxed, almost always sunny|
Memo to those lacking historical, geographic or political background: Eilat is not and never has been claimed by Palestinian Arab terror apologists as 'occupied territory'... other than by the many extremists who see all of Israel as the territory that is occupied. The readers of the Lebanese Al Manar news website for instance, are seeing a report at this moment headlined "Rockets Hit Occupied Town of Eilat"; Al Manar is a mouthpiece of Hezbollah. The semi-respectable Palestinian Maan News Agency has called Eilat occupied too, though never in the English language.
Times of Israel is reporting that one of the two missiles crashed into a residential neighborhood; the other in an open area on Eilat's outskirts. Reuters says both hit open areas. Ynet says there were three rockets, and two landed in residential areas. Israel's Army Radio, which is broadcast throughout the country, is quoted saying that a rocket
had also hit the nearby Jordanian city of Aqaba, but a spokesman for the Jordanian Civil Defence denied the suggestion.Fortunately, and this is a matter of divine intervention and human failure, no injuries are reported, at least not so far. Damage is said to be light.
The IDF's assessment, hardly surprising and certainly not for the first time, is that the attack on Eilat was made from the nearby Sinai Peninsula. The situation there is chaotic and dangerous, and growing steadily worse; we have written numerous times about Sinai's spiral downwards into terrorist-driven anarchy [here, here, here and here among numerous other posts]. As a matter of consistent policy, the Egyptian authorities always respond to media enquiries with firm denials that rockets were fired from Egyptian territory; this morning they did the same again.
Israel's security authorities saw today's attack coming. An Iron Dome anti-missile defense battery has been stationed near Eilat for the past two weeks; there are ongoing intelligence assessments that warned of an act of terrorism like this morning's. The system however was not utilized today, presumably because the Iron Dome controller knows to compute the expected damage in real time and to avoid firing if it is reasonable to do that.
The IDF created the Eilat Regional Brigade this past December to provide military protection, to the extent such a thing is doable against a jihadist enemy operating under the cover of a neighbouring country's government. The most recent rocket attack on Eilat's civilian population (the only kind that it has) was an especially worrying one in August 2012; those which came before it are detailed in this Wikipedia entry.