On Thursday, at approximately 12 o'clock noon, Israel time, a series of four well-orchestrated terror attacks took place in the Sinai, 20 kilometres north of Eilat – UJA Federation's partnership community - which has so far, left seven dead and 30 injured. Three or four of the terrorists are reported dead.
The terrorists, who came from the Gaza Strip, began with an attack on an Israeli public transit bus coming from Be'ersheva, and a private car, followed by an attack on an IDF vehicle that arrived on the scene to provide assistance to the victims.
In the fourth stage of the attack, another terrorist cell ambushed a bus and a private vehicle not far from the scene of the first attack. They sprayed both vehicles with gunfire and launched an anti-tank rocket at the bus. The rocket hit the car instead, murdering all of its occupants.
UJA Federation has been in close contact with our partners on the ground. Josephtal Hospital, for which UJA Federation of Greater Toronto recently spearheaded a $6 million project for a new emergency wing, has been at the forefront of Israel's emergency response. We are incredibly proud of the leadership demonstrated by our partners. They have risen to the occasion, providing first class emergency medical services to the victims of the multiple attacks.
The following is a first-person account of the current situation in Eilat, from UJA Federation's representative in Eilat, Richard Summers:
"Eilat is holding its breath, local residents are desperately trying to find out what is going on and who has been hurt. Every few minutes more announcements of additional injuries are heard on the radio and the cacophony of sirens can be heard from every corner of the city.
Reservists from the local Eilat anti-terror unit have been called up and are already in the field and as I type, they are in a gun battle at close quarters. Eilat rescue units have also reported for duty but are waiting for approval to enter the area due to gun battles that are continuing.
The city is closed, all exits and entrances have been shut down and the army has taken control of all roads in the region. Communities in the Arava are also under threat and there are reports of attacks around the community of Be'er Ora. Josephtal Hospital is tending to the injured, emergency procedures are underway, triage is being undertaken in waiting areas and all of the operating theatres and beds in emergency rooms are fully occupied.
Every one of the residents here are waiting to hear news of their children, many of whom are on their way home from army bases, and if friends and loved ones called up to the anti-terror unit, are safe.
As I type, I can hear the thunder of helicopters arriving at the hospital, the next stage will be evacuation of injured to hospitals in the center of the country.
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