Five rockets have landed in the Israeli city of Eilat and neighbouring Aqaba in Jordan amid fears that a new cycle of violence involving Palestinian militants in Gaza and Israeli forces may have begun.
According to the Israeli daily Haaretz, four people were injured in Aqaba, one seriously. There were no casualties in Eilat. Both cities face each other on the shores of the Red Sea.
Out of the five rockets, two fell in the Red Sea, while another struck a vacant area in Eilat. However, two rockets which landed in Aqaba in an area housing several international hotels injured four and destroyed two cars. Two of the injured are taxi drivers. Al Jazeera television quoting Jordanian officials said that one person had died in Aqaba.
Israeli officials have hinted that the salvo was fired from the Egyptian Sinai peninsula. However, Al Jazeera quoted Egyptian authorities as saying the rockets had been fired from Jordan.
But, Nayef Qadai, Jordan's Interior Minister said “preliminary investigation showed that the rocket was fired from outside Jordanian territory”.
Monday's attack is part of recent surge in violence that had been triggered on Friday by a rocket attack from Gaza on the Israeli industrial city of Ashkelon. For the first time after the Gaza war of January 2009, Israeli air strikes that followed killed Issa Batran, a senior Hamas commander involved in making rockets. Batran's wife and five children had previously been killed during the course of the 2009 war.
Earlier on Monday, more than 20 people were injured when explosions rocked the Gaza home of Alaa al-Danaf, a senior Hamas commander in Gaza. Al Jazeera reported that the blast badly damaged 12 nearby houses.
On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had warned that Israel would “continue to use all means” to protect its people. He told his Cabinet that Hamas was “directly responsible for any attack that comes from the Gaza Strip toward the state of Israel, and the international community should see it this way as well.”