Israel under Attack over Passover

April 12, 2017

by: Ilse Posselt

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The entrance to the Egyptian Taba Border Terminal. (Photo Credit: NYC2TLV / Wikimedia)

Wednesday, 12 April 2017 | Sundown on Monday ushered in the festival of Passover, the feast that celebrates God’s miraculous intervention to redeem the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt and lead them into the land of His promise. Yet on Monday morning, as Israelis busied themselves with the final preparations before the start of the festival, an attack was launched from the very place where the children of Israel were freed from some 3,300 years ago: Egypt.

The Code Red siren sounded at just after 11:30 on Monday morning, warning communities situated close to the Egyptian border to seek cover from an incoming missile. Moments later, the projectile, which was launched from the Sinai Peninsula, hit a greenhouse, destroying the structure and the produce inside.

The owner of the greenhouse, Chaim Cohen, shared his family’s harrowing experience with Ynet News.

“We were in the house preparing for the seder night (the main feast on Passover). Suddenly there was a siren. We got everyone into the bomb shelter and there was a huge explosion. The whole house shook,” he remembers.

“It was obvious that a rocket had fallen close to us and it caused extremely serious damage to the greenhouse. Metal was broken, the nylon was ripped, the growth was damaged. It is serious damage indeed,” Cohen continued.

“We can handle damage,” he added. “The main thing is that no one was harmed. We will have a seder —the whole family, thank God. We will overcome it all and celebrate the festival as we planned.”

Later on Monday, the Islamic State’s arm in the Sinai Peninsula claimed responsibility for the attack. “The fighters of the Islamic State have bombed the Jewish settlement in southern Palestine with a Grad rocket,” the Sinai-based jihadists, known simply as Sinai Province, announced in a statement.

Remains of a rocket (illustrative) (Photo Credit: Will King / BFP)

This is not the first time that Sinai Province targeted the Jewish state. The terror group also took responsibility for firing four rockets on Israel’s Red Sea city of Eilat in February. At the time, Sinai Province issued a sinister warning vowing that “the future will be more calamitous with Allah’s permission.”

The ISIS faction which currently has an estimated membership of 800 to 1,000 jihadists has close ties with Hamas, the terror group ruling over the Gaza Strip. These relations are a source of grave concern to the Egyptian government and army. The Tower points out that an Egyptian official recently blamed Hamas for launching Sinai Province from “a gang of Bedouin with light weapons into a well-trained, well-armed group of militants.” Moreover, The Tower also explains that Hamas provides wounded Sinai Province fighters with medical care and plays a leading role in smuggling weapons to the ISIS faction in the Sinai.

Monday’s attack came mere hours after Israel announced that it was closing its Taba Border Crossing into the Sinai Peninsula. Explaining the highly unusual move, Jewish state officials pointed to intelligence received regarding an imminent terror attack in the area over the Passover period. The crossing is expected to reopen after the holidays on Tuesday, 18 April.

Every year, thousands of Israelis use the Taba Crossing to visti the Sinai Peninsula and spend the Passover holiday at one of the famous Red Sea resorts. This year, the powers-that-be in Israel considered the territory too dangerous for its citizens. Apart from barring entry to prospective holiday makers, Israel also called on any of its citizens already in the Sinai to return home immediately.

The border closure comes a day after two lethal bombing attacks on Egyptian churches on Palm Sunday claimed the lives of 43 Coptic Christians and wounded over a 100 more. ISIS also claimed responsibility for the deadly bombings.

On Sunday afternoon, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi announced a three-month state of emergency in the country. The government approved the president’s call on Monday.

Following Sunday’s terror attack, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered his condolences to the families of the victims and wished the wounded a speedy recovery. He also highlighted the need for the world to unite and stand against terrorism everywhere.

Posted on April 12, 2017

Source: (Bridges for Peace, 12 April 2017)