From JUF News:
Israeli paramedics wheel an injured man on a stretcher at the Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba following a terrorist attack in southern Israel, near the Egyptian frontier, Aug. 18, 2011
Thursday turned out to be a day of terror the likes of which Israel hasn't seen in a number of years, with seven dead and dozens injured in a series of coordinated attacks.
Palestinian terrorists attacked an Israeli bus traveling near Eilat in the first attack. The infiltrators, allegedly from Gaza, struck an Egged bus just after noon Thursday, according to the Israel Defense Forces.
Three other attacks—roadside bombs detonated as a vehicle drove past and another on Israeli troops—occurred in the same area shortly after, according to Lt.-Col Avital Leibovitch, the IDF's chief spokesman for the foreign press.
Two people were critically wounded Thursday evening when gunfire erupted close to the site of the earlier attacks.
A short time before the renewed gunfire, IDF aircraft struck targets in the Gaza Strip, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that Israel would respond to the attacks in an appropriate manner.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said the attacks "demonstrate the weakening of Egypt's control over the Sinai Peninsula and the expansion of terrorist activity there." He added that Israel's military will retaliate against the attacks, which he said "originate in Gaza."
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz arrived at the scene to conduct an assessment, according to the IDF.
Egyptian officials have denied that Egypt was involved in the attacks, according to reports.
The Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago issued the following statement today regarding the incidents:
"In the wake of today’s coordinated attacks by Palestinian terrorists, who murdered at least seven Israeli civilians and military personnel and injured dozens of others inside Israel, Chicago’s Jewish community joins with our Israeli friends and relatives in mourning the dead and praying for the recovery of the injured.
"As we praise the courageous response of the Israel Defense Forces, we demand that those who incite, plan, and implement terrorism are stopped and brought to justice, and that those who condone or excuse terrorism are marginalized.
"Today’s four terror attacks, believed to originate in Gaza, serve as a deadly reminder: Stability in the Middle East will come only when those who are committed to a peaceful resolution of disputes defeat those who are committed to violence.
"In 2000 the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago helped establish the Victims of Terror Fund, a global effort to assist terror attack victims in Israel, as well as families of Jewish victims of terror attacks aimed at Israeli targets worldwide. The Victims of Terror Fund has since provided some $25 million in support."
The White House issued the following statement on the attacks:
"We condemn the brutal terrorist attacks in southern Israel today in the strongest terms. Our deepest condolences go to the victims, their families and loved ones, and we wish those injured a speedy recovery. The U.S. and Israel stand united against terror and we hope that those behind this attack will be brought to justice swiftly."