Eilat, Israel – Piercing air raid sirens ring out over the Israeli port metropolis on the Pink Sea.
Fighter jets thundered within the blue skies above on Saturday.
A person pushing his little one in a pram, uncertain which technique to go, rushed for shelter beneath the overhanging concrete entrance of a closed shopping center.
A closely sunburned man stood up from his sunlounger on an empty seashore and seemed as much as see if he might catch a glimpse of the drama unfolding above; he picked up his towel however hesitates, uncertain whether or not to run for canopy or proceed soaking within the morning rays.
A Russian girl and two Israeli males took cowl beside a crumbling, derelict brick home.
“That is Yemen,” one of many males mentioned, pointing on the sky. The Israeli air power, he mentioned, is making an attempt to intercept missiles fired throughout the Pink Sea.
The sound of plane wrestling with the menace within the sky and the dearth of bomb shelters had been in stark distinction to different Israeli cities, like Tel Aviv, the place residents face common rocket assaults from Gaza and are well-rehearsed at going to the closest shelter to attend for the Iron Dome programs to intercept incoming projectiles.
In Eilat, the danger got here from Houthi rebels in Yemen firing missiles and drones from throughout the Pink Sea – they had been intercepted and destroyed earlier than they may hit their targets.
The town sits on the slim southern tip of Israel, sandwiched between Jordan and Egypt, about 50km (31 miles) from Saudi Arabia.
A well-liked vacationer resort with rows of high-rise accommodations, it has additionally turn into dwelling to Ukrainians and Russians who left their nations after the invasion of Ukraine started on February 24, 2022.
Throughout the harbour, a big Jordanian flag is clearly seen over the town of Aqaba, the place 1000’s of Eilat’s tourism employees come from.
‘This battle will final a very long time’
Nacham Naim moved along with his household to Eilat from his dwelling close to Gaza after Hamas launched a shock assault on Israeli military outposts and surrounding villages on October 7.
Naim misplaced considered one of his finest mates within the assault, which has left him deeply traumatised. He mentioned that though he feels safer within the port metropolis, there may be nonetheless a menace from Yemen looming over them.
His sister, Liat Naim, added that, with an elevated menace from Hezbollah in Lebanon from the north, this looks like a larger regional battle the place Israel is surrounded by hostile actors.
Wherever they transfer within the nation, they won’t really feel utterly secure, she mentioned. “You may really feel it in your intestine; this battle will final a very long time.”
Hea, 31, who got here to Eilat to offer her kids a break from the fixed air raid siren alerts round their dwelling close to the Gaza Strip, mentioned: “I’m not secure right here, as effectively. You may see, Yemen strikes right here, nowhere is secure.”
A white-haired man with a pistol strapped to his hip and an Israeli flag caught to his T-shirt sleeve, who didn’t need to be named, was working a vertical carry bridge within the metropolis’s centre.
Crowds of individuals, lots of whom had been evacuated from the areas round Gaza on October 7, waited whereas a ship with a protracted mast sailed by means of the slim waterway.
For now, the danger to the town is negligible in contrast with different locations in Israel, he mentioned, because the rockets fired from Yemen can take greater than an hour to succeed in their goal. US warships within the Pink Sea and Israeli air forces have ample alternative to shoot them down.
The chance could also be low now, he mentioned with a dismissive shrug, but when Hezbollah assaults within the north whereas Yemen assaults on the identical time, it may very well be a “disaster” for the nation.
The Israeli army later introduced the air raid alert had been raised on Saturday morning after its “programs detected a suspicious goal approaching Israeli territory”.