Friday, August 19, 2011

19-Aug-11: Summarizing the events of Thursday

Eilat, today. Extremely tight security. 
Based on several accounts including that of Haaretz, here is a synopsis of yesterday's jihadist attacks on Israelis:
  • The terror attacks began around noon. Three terrorists armed with rifles, grenades and explosives entered Israel from Egypt and stationed themselves at intervals of about 200 meters along the highway to Eilat, Route 12. At that point, the road runs very close to the border with Egypt. 
  • At 12:30 pm, they opened fire on Egged Bus 392, a scheduled passenger bus. 7 passengers were injured (light to moderate). Most, not all, were soldiers.
  • Minutes later, an empty bus and several cars arrived. The jihadist opened fire again. When the bus stopped, a terrorist ran up to the bus and activated his explosive belt. The driver, Yosef Levy, 57, was killed.
  • The terrorists opened fire on two cars. Four people traveling in one, two married couples - the wives were sisters, were killed. [We wrote about this earlier.]
  • The driver of another car was killed.
  • The first IDF forces then arrived in two vehicles. One vehicle ran down one of the terrorists and killed him. Soldiers in the second vehicle opened fire on the third terrorist. A soldier, Staff Sgt. Moshe Naftali of Ofra, was killed in the fire fight.
  • Additional police and army forces then arrived on the scene and killed the third terrorist. They also opened fire on two additional terrorists who were waiting on the Egyptian side of the border.
  • Assault helicopters joined the battle, and a terrorist fired a rocket-propelled grenade at one of the helicopters, but missed.
  • The two terrorists in Sinai were killed after policemen from the special Yamam anti-terror unit, pursued them a short distance into Egyptian territory. The policemen returned to Israel immediately thereafter.
  • While all this was happening, the terrorists also fired mortars at a civilian work crew repairing the fence nearby, but caused no casualties.
  • The Egyptian army later reported that it killed two additional terrorists in Sinai. The IDF was in close contact with the Egyptian army throughout.
  • After the battle, the IDF brought in sappers, who discovered bombs planted along the road and dismantled them.
  • Around 6:45pm, as senior defense officials were briefing reporters on the earlier attack, terrorists opened fire once again − this time at a Yamam force patrolling the border not far from the site of the original attack. One policeman was killed in the assault and another was wounded.

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