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Eilat airport reopens after alert

Israel briefly prevented landings at the airport in the Red Sea resort of Eilat, as Egyptian officials warned of possible rocket attacks coming from its territory on the Sinai Peninsula.

The partial closure was in effect for about two hours before being lifted, said military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner.

Lt Col Lerner said the decision to close Eilat airport was made as a result of a security assessment, but did not elaborate.

Eilat, on Israel's southern tip, is a major destination for domestic and international tourists. It is close to the Sinai, where Islamic militants and tribesmen engaged in smuggling and other criminal activity have defied Egyptian security forces for years.

An Egyptian security official told the Associated Press that the country received intelligence suggesting that terrorist groups planned to fire missiles at Israel on Friday, as well as at locations in northern Sinai and the Suez Canal. The official said Egypt informed Israel about the threat, sparking the airport closure.

The official also said that Egyptian authorities planned to start air patrols over the Naqab desert in the Sinai, where officials believe the militants are based.

Militants have fired rockets from the Sinai toward Eilat in the past.

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