Israel closes Taba crossing, Islamic State fires rocket at settlement

The Israeli government said it would close the Taba crossing linking the occupied territories to Egypt’s Sinai until April 18, following explosions in two major churches in Egypt on Sunday that killed 45 people and injured over 100 others.

The spokesperson for the Israeli military announced on his official Twitter account on Monday that a rocket was fired from Sinai, targeting Eshkol settlement in the southern area of the occupied Palestinian territories. The rocket caused no human or material damage, he added.

The Islamic State claimed the attack in a statement by its media arm Amaq Agency, claiming, “Islamic State fighters target the Jewish Eshkol settlement in South Palestine with a Grad rocket.”

The Israeli Iron Dome intercepted three rockets from Sinai last February, while a fourth exploded in an open field.

The Israeli government’s press office said on Monday that the decision to close the Taba crossing was prompted by the “increased severity and immediacy of the threat” in Sinai, explaining that the Islamic State’s local affiliate, the Sinai Province, has increased its activity in the last few months, revealing its desire to commit attacks against tourists in Sinai “in the immediate term.”

The statement clarifies that Israeli nationals will not be permitted to enter Sinai through the crossing, but that Israelis already in Sinai will be allowed to cross back into Israel-Palestine.

Israel issued a warning of the highest level last month, advising its citizens against visiting Egypt’s Sinai and urging those present to leave the area.

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