Rockets from Sinai hit southern Israel

Egypt declares state of emergency | Bangkok Post: news

Egypt declares state of emergency | Bangkok Post: news

The reported strike came hours after a rocket attack from Sinai was sacked into southern Israel earlier on Monday, an attack claimed by the Islamic State affiliate in Sinai.

The remains of a rocket fired from Sinai that struck an Israeli greenhouse in the village of Yuval in the Eshkol region on April 10, 2017.

In an unprecedented move, Israel closed its Taba border with Egypt earlier on Monday, fearing imminent attacks from the militant group.

The order recommends that all Israeli tourists in the popular Sinai tourist destination return home immediately.

The border closure appeared triggered by the bombing of Coptic churches on Sunday in the northern Egyptian cities of Tanta and Alexandria, killing at least 44 people and injuring more than 100.

Israeli Transportation and Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz warned of a potential "terror attack" against tourists in Sinai in a statement Monday. The Islamic State militant group later claimed responsibility for the attack.

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It adds that with IS losing ground in Iraq and Syria, there is renewed "motivation to carry out terror attacks in different arenas at this time".

But the incident - and border closure - underscored the growing strength of Egypt's Islamic State affiliate, which is based in the Sinai. "They don't want us to pray but we will pray", said Samira Adly, 53, whose neighbors were killed in the attack, the Reuters news agency reported. Rocket attacks on Israel from Sinai are relatively rare but Islamic militants there have been behind a few attacks in recent years.

"Sunday's blasts represent one of the episodes of the conflict between terror groups and the Egyptian state and they are meant to largely pressure the Egyptian administration and weaken the country's national unity", Ghobashi told Xinhua.

Israel raised its travel warning for Sinai to its highest level, one out of four, signalling "a very high concrete threat", with a travel warning for the rest of Egypt at level three ("basic-level concrete threat").

"Israel sends condolences to the families of those who were murdered in yesterday's terrorist attacks in Egypt, and wishes for a quick and full recovery to the wounded", a government statement read.

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