[Updated at 9:09 a.m.] The death toll in southern Israeli violence now stands at 13 - six Israelis and seven attackers, authorities said.
[Updated at 7:57 a.m.] Defense Minister Ehud Barak issued a statement regarding the attacks:
"This is a serious terrorist attack in a number of locations. The event reflects the weakening of Egyptian control over Sinai and the expansion of the activity of terrorist forces.Â The origin of these acts of terror is in Gaza and we will act against them in our full force and determination."
[Updated at 7:47 a.m.] At least six people were killed and more than two dozen others were injured in southern Israel when attackers fired shots at a bus, assaulted Israeli soldiers, and fired mortars and an anti-tank missile.
The assault occurred about 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the Israeli city of Eilat - close to the Israeli-Egyptian border. Israeli soldiers exchanged gunfire with the assailants, described by the Israel Defense Forces as "terrorists."
An Israeli emergency official said six people died. Four were found in a private car and one was at a nearby scene. A sixth man was found dead as well. At least 26 people were admitted to Yoseftal Hospital in Eilat, including one with serious injuries. Three injured people were transferred to Soroka hospital in Beer Sheva. The IDF said casualties included civilians and soldiers.
The incident began when shots were fired at a vehicle on a bus traveling from Beersheva to Eilat, near the community of Netafim.IDF spokesman Brig. Gen. Yoav Mordechai said that after the bus attack, explosives were used against an IDF force operating in the area. Mortars were fired toward Israeli troops near the Egyptian border, and an anti-tank missile was fired, Mordechai said.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak met to discuss the "grave attacks," the prime minister's office said.FULL STORY