Israeli leaders vowed a harsh response to the terror attacks in southern Israeli in which 7 Israelis were killed and over thirty injured. Defense Minister Ehud Barak said the army will hunt down the terrorists who waged the attacks along Israel's border. "We are talking about a serious situation which reflects the weakening of Egypt's control in Sinai," he said. Barak said the terrorists came from the Gaza Strip and infiltrated into Israel from the Sinai. "It is a severe incident where Israelis were harmed and Israel's sovereignty violated and we will respond accordingly," Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said. The US Embassy in Tel Aviv called the attack "a brutal cowardly act of terrorism." In a statement the embassy said "the American and the Israeli people stand united against terror, and we hope that those involved in the planning of this gruesome attack will be brought to swift justice. Hamas denied involvement in the attacks and warned Israel it will respond harshly if Israel launches an offensive in Gaza. Meanwhile in anticipation of Israel's response, the United Nations called on its workers to leave the Gaza Strip. An Egyptian security official denied that Egypt was involved in the attacks amid reports that Egyptian soldiers were involved in the shooting. The official said the distance to the Israeli border makes it impossible for Egyptians to open fire at Israel.
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