Militants plan attacks to `harm Israel-Egypt ties`

Eight Israelis were killed and at least 26 wounded, when militants armed with explosives, guns and grenades opened fire.

Jerusalem: Militant groups are planning a number of attacks along the Israeli-Egyptian border in order to damage ties between the two countries, an Israeli security source told, a news agency on Friday.

"There are very serious intelligence warnings that in order to harm Israel-Egypt relations, more attacks are being planned," he told a news agency, speaking on condition of anonymity.

In a statement issued late Thursday an anti-terrorism committee answerable to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on Israelis not to visit the Sinai and urged those, who were there to return home as quickly as possible.

The remarks came a week after gunmen infiltrated Israel`s southern Negev desert from the Sinai and carried out a coordinated series of shooting attacks on buses and cars on a road, which runs alongside the Egyptian border some 20 kilometres (12 miles) north of the Red Sea resort of Eilat.

Eight Israelis were killed and at least 26 wounded, when militants armed with explosives, guns and grenades opened fire in a series of ambushes, which took place over several hours.

During the hunt for the killers, five Egyptian policemen were shot dead by Israeli fire, sparking a diplomatic crisis between Egypt and Israel, with Cairo insisting that the Jewish state apologise.

However Egypt`s information minister denied Thursday a state television report last week that Cairo had decided to recall its ambassador to Israel in protest.

During Thursday`s hunt for the gunmen, defence officials were "certain" that nine gunmen involved in the attacks had been killed "in Israeli territory or on the border," the source said.

Officials had earlier said, seven gunmen were killed, three of them, who died in Israeli territory and four, who were shot dead on the Egyptian side of the border by Israel and Egyptian troops.

Up to 20 gunmen are thought to have been involved in the attack, which Israel has blamed on the Gaza-based Popular Resistance Committees (PRC).

"They definitely were sent by PRC," the source said, but had no information about media reports suggesting a number of the attackers were Egyptian nationals.

"It is clear to the Israeli security establishment that between five and six Egyptian policemen were killed," he said, indicating the attackers were firing from an area "very close" to an Egyptian border post.


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