A three-stage terrorist attack near the city of Eliat along the Israeli-Egypt border left six dead and another 25 wounded when insurgents opened fire on a bus destined for the city.
The Jerusalem Post reports that several minutes after the initial gunfire a number of bombs were detonated near an IDF patrol unit, while there have also been reports of mortar fire from Egypt into Israel and terrorists firing anti-tank missiles at another vehicle, leaving its passengers injured.
The Post report states the insurgents attacked the bus and private vehicle approximately 20 kilometers north of the first attack, where paramedics found the five mortally wounded individuals. IDF soldiers soon targeted and killed seven of the attackers involved in the hostilities.
"This seems like a co-ordinated attack," a senior IDF officer told the Jerusalem Post.
The Post report speculates that more than one cell took part in co-ordinating the insurgent operations, while it's believed the terrorists infiltrated Israel by crossing over the Egyptian-Israeli border. Israeli communities along the border have been advised to remain inside their homes, while the state's alert level has been raised.
Hours after the attack, while Israel's counter-terrorism unit was engaging the insurgents, one of their officers was killed during a firefight with one of the terrorist cells.
The Jerusalem Post is reporting that Pascal Avrahami, 49, husband and father of three, was killed during a sweep of the region north of Eliat where some of the terrorist forces had remained. It's additionally believed that the insurgent forces intended to abduct an Israeli soldier or civilian and transport them into the Gaza Strip.
In response to the attacks, Israel launched an airstrike targeting Gaza only hours after hostilities began.
CNN reports both the Popular Resistance Committees in Gaza and Hamas have denied involvement in the attack, later claiming Israel was only looking for a reason to attack Gaza.
Leaders of the Popular Resistance Committees were specifically targeted in the attacks, claiming the lives of six, including five committee members and one of their sons.
"The people who gave the order to murder our citizens and that were hiding in Gaza are no longer alive," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in the CNN report.
Abu Suhayb, a spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees, stated that had the group been involved in the attacks it would have claimed responsibility.
"We warned Israel not to blame us just because it is easy for them to do so," he said in the CNN report. "All the options are open now for reaction, from kidnapping soldiers, to suicide attacks inside Israel and to the shelling with rockets."