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Two rockets are fired from Sinai into Israeli resort town

JERUSALEM — Two rockets fired from the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula struck the southern Israeli resort of Eilat on Wednesday, causing no damage or injuries, according to the Israeli military. The first such attack on that city in a year, it underscored the continuing threat from militants operating across the desert border.

But despite the attack’s potential for serving as a new source of tension between Israel and Egypt under President Mohammed Morsi, a former leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Israeli officials spoke of close cooperation between the two countries over what they viewed as a joint interest.

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‘‘There is constant and in-depth dialogue with the Egyptians,’’ Amos Gilad, a senior Israeli Defense Ministry official, told Israel Radio after the attack. ‘‘Egypt considers any kind of terror to be a threat to Egypt and it is very committed to the peace agreement with us. This commitment has improved and is more intensive.’’

Gilad added: ‘‘The rocket fire is meant to kill and to cause panic and to complicate our relationship with Egypt. We will make every effort to prevent this.’’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, who was in London attending the funeral of Margaret Thatcher, the former British prime minister, spoke with his defense minister, Moshe Yaalon, and held security consultations about how to respond to the rocket attack, according to a statement from Netanyahu’s office.

A shadowy Islamist extremist group, the Mujahedeen Shura Council-Environs of Jerusalem, said it had fired the rockets at Eilat in support of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails.

“This is a strike against the enemy in the language it understands very well and in the place that it did not expect,’’ the group said in a statement, without specifying the location from which the rockets were fired. The group, which also operates in Gaza, called on Hamas, the Islamist group that controls the Palestinian enclave, to stop pursuing extremist fighters of the Salafi movement and to release those it has arrested.

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Israel’s deputy minister of defense, Danny Danon, said the weapons and training for Islamic militants operating between Gaza and Sinai had come from Iran.

‘‘The same forces that fired rockets at Eilat also want to topple the current regime in Egypt,’’ he told Israel Radio. ‘‘Egypt, Jordan, and Israel all want to stop these groups, which are connected to Iran and to Al Qaeda.’’

He added, ‘‘There is cooperation, even close cooperation, between Egypt, Israel, and Jordan, all of whom share an interest in fighting these elements.’’

Israel signed a peace treaty with Egypt in 1979 and one with Jordan in 1994. Israelis were concerned for the future of the relations with Egypt after the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak in 2011 stripped Israel of a trusted regional ally.

A number of cross-border attacks have added layers of complexity to an already fraught relationship between Israel and Egypt. In a particularly brazen assault in August, gunmen opened fire on an Egyptian ­Army checkpoint in the northern Sinai Peninsula, killing 16 soldiers. They then detonated a truck packed with explosives at the border fence with Israel and drove an armored vehicle, also loaded with explosives, about a mile into Israel before Israeli airstrikes destroyed it.

Israel has urged Morsi to clamp down on militants operating in the wild terrain of the peninsula but has also been wary of any Egyptian military buildup in the area that could violate the terms of the peace treaty that is decades old between the two countries.

Rockets from Sinai have struck Eilat on two previous occasions, in 2012 and 2010. Both rockets Wednesday fell in open spaces in the city.

A battery that is part of Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, and is supposed to protect Eilat from rocket fire, failed to operate.

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