Series of deadly attacks in southern Israel

At least six people have been killed and 15 injured in a series of terrorist attacks on vehicles in southern Israel. Thursday attacks targeted a passenger bus, a private car and a military vehicle.

Israel’s Channel 10 TV has just reported a fourth consecutive attack by gunmen near border with Egypt, the Associated Press reports.

The first attack was a shooting at a bus traveling from Beer Sheva to Eilat, near the community of Netafim.

The bus was traveling through Netafim checkpoint located some 12 kilometers north of Eilat on the Egyptian border when the attack occurred. Reports said most of the passengers on the bus were Israeli soldiers who are residents of Eilat and were going home from their respective bases for the weekend.

The shots were allegedly fired from a moving vehicle. Shortly after the bus attack, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) engaged in a shootout with the armed men near the scene of incident. Ten passengers on board the bus suffered mostly moderate injuries.

The second blast was reportedly heard in the area close by when an Israeli military vehicle ran over a roadside bomb causing serious injuries to at least five people.

Following the attack, mortars were fired from the Egyptian border.

Shortly after, an anti-tank missile was launched at a private car, at a location approximately 20 kilometers north of the first shooting on the passenger bus, a police spokesperson said according to Aljazeera.

Security forces searched for the suspected vehicle and set up barricades in the area. Once they caught up with the vehicle a shootout between the IDF and the gunmen erupted.

Two IDF helicopters were called to the scene in order to evacuate the wounded to a nearest hospital.

According to the latest reports on Israeli Army Radio, there is ongoing gunfire in the area between the assailants and the Israeli army and police, as cited by Aljazeera News Channel.

The army is monitoring the security situation along the border with Egypt and has vowed to “hunt down” the perpetrators of Thursday’s attack,  Aljazeera quoted Ehud Barak, the Israeli defense minister, as saying.

Yoav Mordechai, the Israeli army spokesman, also advised residents to avoid traveling to surrounding areas where attacks have been reported.

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