Projectiles hit two Egyptian Red Sea towns on Friday, sources and officials say, wounding at least six people in Taba near the border with Israel.
Egyptian army spokesperson Colonel Gharib Abdel-Hafez said an “unidentified drone” crashed into a building adjacent to a hospital in Taba in the early hours of the morning.
Later, another projectile fell near an electricity plant in a desert area of the town of Nuweiba, two Egyptian security sources told the Reuters news agency.
This was also reported by Egypt’s Al Qahera News, which said investigations into the incident were under way, citing sources with knowledge of the matter.
Witnesses in both towns confirmed to Reuters that they heard explosions and saw smoke rising and Egyptian warplanes flying overhead.
There was no claim of responsibility, but the incident is believed to be linked to the continuing Israel-Hamas war that has been raging in Gaza since October 7, when Hamas fighters launched an attack on Israel, killing at least 1,405 people. Israeli air raids on Gaza have since killed at least 7,028 Palestinians.
Nuweiba is 72km (44 miles) from Taba, which is about 220km (135 miles) from the Gaza Strip. Taba straddles Egypt’s border with Israel’s Red Sea port of Eilat.
After the blast, Israel’s military said it was aware of a security incident outside its borders.
Without specifying the location, Israel’s military spokesperson Daniel Hagari said combat helicopters were scrambled when “an aerial threat was spotted in the Red Sea region”.
“To our understanding, the strike that took place in Egypt originated in this threat,” he added in a televised briefing. “Israel will work with Egypt, and the United States, and bolster regional defences against threats from the Red Sea region.”
Taba, in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, is popular with tourists. It is about a three-hour drive from Egypt’s Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh.
The blasts highlight the risks facing Egypt and other countries in the region as fighting intensifies between Israel and Hamas.
Egypt has taken an active role in negotiating access to aid for Palestinians, trying to secure the release of hostages held by Hamas and advocating for a ceasefire. But its proximity to the front line has exposed it to risks.
On October 22, several Egyptian border guards were injured after being accidentally hit by fragments of a shell from an Israeli tank. Israel apologised for the incident.
Other regional countries, including Lebanon and Syria, have also been peripherally caught up in the fighting.
Iran backs Hamas and the Lebanese armed group Hezbollah, which Israel has clashed with in skirmishes along the Israel-Lebanon border.
On Thursday, the United States said it had attacked two Iran-linked facilities in Syria, following a series of attacks against US forces in Iraq and Syria.
Last week, the US military said a navy warship in the northern Red Sea intercepted projectiles launched by Yemen’s Houthi armed group potentially towards Israel.