Iron Dome accidentally fired in Eilat, setting off rocket fears

Iron Dome accidentally fired in Eilat, setting off rocket fears

Residents say two loud explosions heard in southern city, but army says no rockets shot

The city of Eilat. (photo credit: Nati Shohat/Flash90)
The city of Eilat. (photo credit: Nati Shohat/Flash90)

Loud explosions echoed across Eilat early Tuesday morning, after two projectiles were mistakenly fired from an Iron Dome anti-missile battery stationed there.

The loud booms raised fears of rocket fire on the southern city and sent security forces scrambling to find the source of the fire.

However, an army spokesperson said that the explosions were from two Iron Dome anti-missile projectiles being accidentally fired at about 7:40 a.m.

Initial reports indicated that up to three Grad rockets were shot at the city, but the Israel Defense Forces said Eilat was not targeted.

An army spokesperson said that the Iron Dome battery, which only fires on command, was being checked.

Soldiers manning the batteries are instructed to err on the side of caution and fire if they think there may be a threat, Channel 10 reported.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage. Residents said no siren sounded.

An airplane preparing to land in the city was forced to circle during the false alarm before being able to touch down safely, Walla reported.

In late January two rockets were fired at the Red Sea resort city from Sinai, with one being shot down by an Iron Dome battery stationed there.

An al-Qaeda-linked terrorist group that operates in the Sinai and Gaza, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, claimed responsibility for that attack.

The group said in a statement that the rocket attack was prompted by “the cooperation between Egypt and Israel and the bombing of Gaza residents.”

Eilat, which sits just a few kilometers from the border with Egypt, is sporadically targeted by militants in the largely lawless Sinai.

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