Militants based in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula have claimed responsibility for firing rockets into southern Israel on Friday amidst fighting between Islamist insurgents and Egyptian security forces. The incident, however, did not cause any casualties.
Earlier, an Israeli military source stated that the rockets had been fired from Sinai, an area bordering Israel, the Gaza Strip, and the Suez Canal. This was supplemented by Israeli police who said they found remnants of two rockets in an expansive area.
The attack was confirmed by Islamic State’s affiliate in Egypt, Sinai Province, in a statement on Twitter posted by supporters who claim that it had launched three Grad rockets towards “occupied Palestine”. News agency Reuters has yet to verify the authenticity of the statement.
Nevertheless, the military source said it is possible that the launch was linked to the fighting in Sinai, wherein Sinai Province militants conducted their biggest attack in years against Egyptian security forces on Wednesday. The clashes and air strikes in the last few days have caused several deaths in the desert region.
As a safety precaution, the Israeli military has closed a southern highway which runs through the Egyptian border.
According to Reuters, Egyptian security forces said they were investigating the reports and pointed out that there was no immediate evidence that suggests the rockets were launched from Egyptian territory.
This is not the first time militants, including Sinai Province, have launched rockets into Israel from Sinai.
Israel has accused Hamas, the Islamist group which controls Gaza, of assisting Islamic State in Sinai, an allegation the group has denied. Despite this, Egyptian security sources have claimed that some Hamas members were spotted participating in the fight in Sinai, though there were no official ties between the groups.
Hamas, which in 2007 took power in Gaza, has been faced with its own threats from Salafists and other militants linked to Islamic State. On Tuesday, Islamic State militants have threatened to topple Hamas, which it said has been insufficiently stringent about religious enforcement.
Similarly, the militant group said it will decimate “the state of the Jews”, referring to Israel, as well as the secular Palestinian movement Fatah, led by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.