In Israel on Thursday, a group of heavily armed gunmen attacked a bus and civilian cars on a highway outside the country's southernmost city. After entering Israel from neighboring Egypt, the militants opened fire and detonated a road-side bomb.
At least seven people were killed and number injured outside of Eilat.
This was a grave incident in which Israelis and Israeli sovereignty were harmed. Israel will respond accordingly, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement earlier in the day.
Israel launched a counter-strike against Palestinian militants, bombing targets on the Gaza Strip. Six Palestinians were killed, including those responsible for the attack, according to reports.
Israel claims that the gunmen came from the Gaza Strip, entering Egypt from the Sinai desert then traveling south to re-enter Israel near Eilat, according to Reuters.
Hamas, the governing Palestinian body in Gaza, denied involvement in the attack.
I don't think Hamas is behind these attacks, but we praise them since they were against soldiers, said Ahmed Yousef, a senior member of the organization, according to Haaretz.
Both U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned the attack on Israel immediately after the event.
We condemn the brutal terrorist attacks in southern Israel today in the strongest terms, White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement. Our deepest condolences go to the victims, their families and loved ones, and we wish those injured a speedy recovery. The U.S. and Israel stand united against terror, and we hope that those behind this attack will be brought to justice swiftly.
The United States condemns today's attacks in southern Israel and all acts of terrorism in the strongest terms, Clinton stated. These brutal and cowardly attacks appear to be premeditated acts of terrorism against innocent civilians. Our deepest condolences go out to the victims, their families and loved ones.