A bus was attacked on the Israeli-Egyptian border on Thursday 18th August 2011 killing eight Israelis.
The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak both blamed the weakening grip of the Egyptian military in the Sinai peninsula for allowing terrorists from Gaza to pass into Israeli territory.
The Israeli Defence Force came to the aid of the bus passengers who were under fire. Five passengers and a bus driver were believed to have been killed already. A soldier, Staff Sergeant Moshe Naftaly, was shot and killed in the ensuing firefight.
Israel conducted strikes in the Gaza strip in retaliation for the attack. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated:
“I have set out a principle – when the citizens of Israel are attacked, we respond immediately and with strength. That principle was implemented today. Those who gave the order to murder our citizens, while hiding in Gaza, are no longer among the living.
“I commend the IDF and the security services who eliminated today in Gaza the senior figures of the organization which carried out the terror attacks in the south. I commend the soldiers, police, and members of the security services who acted swiftly, determinately and bravely against the terrorists, and who thereby prevented an even greater tragedy.”
The Israeli Air Force conducted airstrikes on suspected weapons caches and command centres in the Gaza Strip following the bus attack. In response, according to the IDF, more than 12 rockets were fired at Israel from Gaza overnight. Some were intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-rocket system and some fell in open areas. The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon said that he was concerned at the risk of escalation and called for all to “act with restraint”.