At least seven people died and 40 others were injured Thursday in a three-stage terrorist attack along Israel's border with Egypt.  The attack was initiated when terrorists opened fire at an Egged bus on Road 12 near Eilat, Israel's southernmost city.

Several bombs went off some minutes later near an IDP patrol along the border.  Mortar fire from Egypt into Israel was also reported, according to The Jerusalem Post.  The terrorists then fired an anti-tank missile at a vehicle, injuring several passengers.

According to Magen David Adom Emergency Services, the terrorists then attacked a bus and a private vehicle 20 kilometers from the site of the first incident.  Five people were killed in the attack, paramedics said.

The casualties, which included several soldiers, were sent to Yoseftal Hospital in Eilat .

IDF soldiers were targeting seven terrorists involved in the attacks, IDF spokewoman Avital Leibovich said. 

According to The Jerusalem Post, a senior IDF officer said, This seems like a coordinated attack.

The IDF said that the terrorists may have entered Israel after they crossed into Egypt, possibly from the Gaza Strip.

Security officers in Israeli communities along the border have raised the level of alert and told residents to remain in their homes.

I don't think Hamas is behind these attacks, but we praise them since they were against soldiers, said senior member of the organization Ahmed Yousef, reported Haaretz.