Continued from page 2

Taher Nunu, a spokesman for the Hamas government in Gaza, denied the militants’ complicity.

“Gaza has nothing to do with these attacks in Eilat,” Nunu said.

In November, Israel began erecting a fence along the porous border with Egypt, in part to keep out Islamic militants operating in Sinai. The fence, which is to take up to two years to build, is expected to cover at least 87 miles (140 kilometers) of the 150-mile (250-kilometer) boundary.

Palestinian militants in Hamas-ruled Gaza have fired intermittent barrages of mortar shells into Israel for a decade, even after the Israeli military launched an offensive in the territory in late 2008. But in recent years Israel has not suffered the repeated deadly suicide bombings and shooting attacks of years past. The area of Thursday’s attacks has been largely quiet since Israel and Egypt signed a peace deal in 1979.