Israel intercepts rockets aimed at Eilat

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Israel intercepts rockets aimed at Eilat

The Jewish state's Iron Dome system intercepted at least three projectiles, in an attack claimed by Islamic State fighters

An Iron Dome air defence system fires to intercept a rocket from Gaza Strip.
An Iron Dome air defence system fires to intercept a rocket from Gaza Strip.

Islamic State terrorists have claimed responsibility for firing rockets at the southern Israeli city of Eilat, marking the group’s first major attack on Israel.

The volley of rockets from the Sinai Peninsula triggered Israel’s Iron Dome missile defence system, which activated successfully, as sirens sent residents and tourists running for shelter on Wednesday evening.

Eyewitnesses reported hearing several large explosions, as up to seven rockets were intercepted, resulting in no injuries or loss of life. It is the first time Eilat has been attacked by rockets since 2014.

On Thursday, Islamic State (ISIS) media channels claimed responsibility. Its operatives are active in the Sinai, an area to Israel’s east which is controlled by Egyptian military.

For months, Israel has been bracing itself for an attack by ISIS, with IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Gadi Eizenkot having set up a new specialised commando unit to train in readiness. The unit, which is made up of the Israeli military’s special elite forces, has already held a major training exercise, which was declared a big triumph.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said there are “signs” that ISIS was responsible for previous attacks, with questions over truck attacker Fadi Ahmad Hamdan Qunbor, 28, from the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Jabel Mukaber.

Israel’s intelligence service Shin Bet is on alert for signs of ISIS cells forming within its borders, with two Arab Israeli men, one from Nazareth, the other from Shibli-Umm al-Ghanam at the foot of Mount Tabor, recently sentenced for planning to join the group. Another 46 Israeli citizens are in prison because of their connection to it.

In June last year, two West Bank residents opened fire in Tel Aviv’s Sarona Market complex, shooting dead four Israelis and injuring others, in an attack Shin Bet said was inspired by ISIS, raising concerns about ‘copycat’ killings.

Polls conducted by the Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research, based in Ramallah, show that support for ISIS in Israel and the West Bank is on the rise. Back in 2015, around 16 percent of Arab Israelis approved of ISIS, much higher than in Jordan (three percent) and Lebanon (zero percent).

Up to 100 Israeli Arabs are believed to be fighting for ISIS in Syria and Iraq, and the Israeli military cannot dismiss the possibility of an ISIS attack from either the southern or northern border. In November, the IDF’s Golani brigade killed several ISIS fighters who had sent mortar shells over the border into Israel.

The American-Arab magazine Al-Monitor quotes an anonymous IDF officer as saying:
“As more pressure is exerted on ISIS in Mosul and Raqqa, the restlessness of its representatives in the Syrian Golan increases. It may be that they received orders to open a front with us, and it could be that they just tried to do so of their own accord.

“We have tried to send them a message that a conflict with the IDF would not be worthwhile for them.”

Meanwhile, jihadists in the Sinai are waging war against Egypt’s security forces, and have caused hundreds of casualties. The IDF now believes that the Wilayat Sinai operatives will eventually attack Israel as well.

An Israeli officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, says the group has stolen Egyptian tanks and Russian-made missiles. “It could happen today, tomorrow, or in a month, but within the next six months, we will come into an engagement with them.”

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: