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Blasts in southern Israel: Rockets suspected in Sinai bombing (PHOTOS)

Published time: August 16, 2012 14:49
Edited time: August 16, 2012 18:49
: Police and rescue services arrive at the scene of a rocket attack in the Israeli Red Sea resort of Eilat, on August 15, 2012. (AFP Photo/Jack Guez)

: Police and rescue services arrive at the scene of a rocket attack in the Israeli Red Sea resort of Eilat, on August 15, 2012. (AFP Photo/Jack Guez)

Israeli officials suspect that two large explosions that rocked the Israeli city of Eilat may have been the result of a rocket attack. Authorities are currently scouring the area for evidence of a Grad missile strike.

­The explosions hit Eilat near the city’s border with Egypt’s Sinai Peninsular on Wednesday evening, and were felt throughout the city. No casualties were reported.

"We heard two loud explosions. It was really scary, last time this happened the entire house shook," Eilat resident Rotem told Israeli newspaper Ynet.

"People on the street just froze in their tracks. It was frightening. Maybe it's time that sirens are installed in Eilat as well," said another resident of Eilat.

Several rockets have been fired at Eilat this year, which Israeli authorities believe were launched from neighboring Sinai by Islamist militants.

Heavily armed militants carried out four consecutive attacks in southern Israel last year that left seven people dead and 31 wounded.

The militant groups that have taken root in the Sinai regularly call for turning the peninsula into an independent Islamist state, and carry out frequent attacks against Israel.

Tensions have been mounting in the region following a recent increase in militant activity close to the Israeli border, with insurgent groups attacking security checkpoints and killing 16 border guards. In response, Egyptian security forces launched assaults on checkpoints along the country’s border with Israel last week, killing at least 20 suspected militants.

The latest outbreak of violence prompted an incursion of 60 tanks and hundreds of soldiers into the Sinai Peninsula – the largest military activity in the region since 1976.

The Israeli military has also begun to seal off some of the 1,200 illegal tunnels between the Egyptian border and the Gaza strip in an effort to curb militant activity.

Police and rescue services arrive at the scene of a rocket attack in the Israeli Red Sea resort of Eilat, on August 15, 2012. (AFP Photo/Jack Guez)
Police and rescue services arrive at the scene of a rocket attack in the Israeli Red Sea resort of Eilat, on August 15, 2012. (AFP Photo/Jack Guez)
AFP Photo/Jack Guez
AFP Photo/Jack Guez
Police officers look for the debri from a rocket at the scene of a rocket attack in the Israeli Red Sea resort of Eilat, on August 15, 2012. (AFP Photo/Jack Guez)
Police officers look for the debri from a rocket at the scene of a rocket attack in the Israeli Red Sea resort of Eilat, on August 15, 2012. (AFP Photo/Jack Guez)

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