Israel hit with rockets from Egypt’s Sinai, ISIS affiliate claims responsibility

A member of Egypt's security forces gestures as he stands on a watchtower in North Sinai as seen from across the border in southern Israel July 2, 2015. (Reuters / Amir Cohen)
Several rockets have struck Israel, with an ISIS-affiliated group in Egypt’s Sinai claiming responsibility. There were no casualties. Some view the assault as a follow-up to July 1, the Sinai Province group’s biggest one against Egyptian forces in years.

The group released a statement through its Twitter supporters claiming to have launched three Grad missiles in the direction of “occupied Palestine.” The authenticity of the statement has not been verified.

Sinai, which borders the Gaza Strip, is thought to be the origin of the attack, according to an unnamed Israeli military source speaking to Reuters. The Israelis say they have so far found fragments from two rockets in the Negev region.

The military source believes the attack to be linked to the one carried out Wednesday, which, together with air strikes, claimed dozens of lives. This led to the Israelis on Friday closing a highway that runs along their border with Egypt. Israel has also leveled accusations at Hamas for its alleged ties to the Sinai Province terrorists - something the Palestinian group has denied.

Egypt has examined the allegations that rockets were launched from its territory, but no conclusive evidence was found. However, the group, known to have ties with the Islamic State (formerly ISIS/ISIL), has been known to fire rockets into Israel in the past.

Israel has accused Hamas of colluding with the Islamic State-affiliated group, an allegation the Palestinian militant group denies, despite claims by one Egyptian source that there are reportedly Hamas elements helping out in Sinai battles, there being no broader, official connection between the two groups.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday offered his condolences to the Egyptian people for the deaths on Wednesday, and in a statement declared that Israel and Egypt are partners in the fight against ISIS, while adding that a nuclear Iran is still a much scarier prospect than Sunni extremists.

Smoke rises in Egypt's North Sinai as seen from the border of southern Gaza Strip with Egypt July 1, 2015. (Reuters / Ibraheem Abu)

Shortly before that, Islamic State released a rare video full of threats toward both the Palestinians and the “state of Jews.”

READ MORE: ISIS threat 'nothing' compared to nuclear Iran, Netanyahu warns (again)

The Israeli PM also attacked a report by the UN Human Rights Council, which followed in the footsteps of previous Israel/Hamas reports and levelled allegations of serious misconduct and war crimes found to have taken place during last summer’s Operation Protective Edge in Gaza. The report calls for the prosecution of high-level Israeli officials for the killing of an estimated 1,462 Palestinians. In the conflict, 73 Israelis also died, mostly soldiers.

The United States was the only country to vote down the proposal to prosecute, as Netanyahu lashed out at the UNHCR.

Questioning his country’s membership with the human rights council, Netanyahu claimed that Israel gets more heat than anyone in the region for defending itself “against a murderous terrorist organization.”