Rocket hits Israeli city on Egyptian border

The tough talk,however,was tempered by Israel’s desire not to disturb the already fraught relationship with Egypt

Written by Associated Press | Jerusalem | Published: April 6, 2012 2:00:19 am

A rocket fired from Egypt’s Sinai desert hit a southern Israeli resort city early Thursday,police said,raising new concerns about militant activity in the mountainous peninsula. Israel’s prime minister on Thursday warned that Egypt’s Sinai desert is becoming a “terror zone’’ and vowed to strike at militants there.

The tough talk,however,was tempered by Israel’s desire not to disturb the already fraught relationship with Egypt. Israeli officials acknowledged their options are limited as the new government in Egypt — one of Israel’s few allies in the Arab world — tries to secure its sovereignty over the mountainous Sinai Peninsula.

Thursdays’ rocket attack,the first on Eilat in nearly two years,raised new Israeli concerns about militant activity in Sinai,particularly since the fall of Hosni Mubarak’s regime last year. Israeli security officials have repeatedly warned of a power vacuum in Egypt and say that Islamic militants,including al-Qaeda,have stepped up their activity in Sinai and are now active on Israel’s doorstep.

“We are seeing with Eilat that the Sinai Peninsula is turning into a terror zone,’’ PM Benjamin Netanyahu said. “We will strike at those who attack us. There can be no immunity for terrorism; it must be fought and we are doing so.’’

No injuries were reported in the overnight strike. There was no immediate claim of responsibility,and Egypt denied the attack was launched from its territory. “The chief of security of southern Sinai has already denied that the rocket was fired from the Sinai territory,’’ Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohammed Amr said in Cairo.

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