Israel Says 150 Errant Hamas Rockets Have Fallen Short in Gaza, Likely Causing Casualties Attributed to Israel
The volleys of over 600 missiles fired into Israeli territory by Palestinian terrorist groups since fighting began Monday has included at least 150 errant rockets — falling short within the Gaza Strip and causing casualties that Hamas officials have wrongly blamed on Israel, according to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
According to Gaza’s Health Ministry, at least 28 people in the Strip were killed throughout Monday night and Tuesday, including 10 minors.
Asked specifically about three children killed in an incident in Bein Hanoun, in the northern Gaza Strip, IDF Spokesperson Hidai Zilberman told Israel’s Army Radio on Tuesday that a number of those killed in Gaza were hit by errant rockets fired by Palestinian terrorists, not by Israeli airstrikes.
“We know that one third of the rockets fired from the Gaza Strip did not reach Israel and fell inside Gaza,” Zilberman said. “What we can learn from this is that many Gaza residents who were injured or killed were not hit by Israeli airstrikes but the civilians were hit by rockets from the terrorist groups themselves.”
At the same time, the IDF pointed out that Hamas and Islamic Jihad have purposefully embedded themselves within the civilian population. “They are using their civilians, the Palestinians, their homes, schools, hospitals, and mosques in Gaza as human shields and are making it virtually impossible for us to strike only those involved in military activity,” said IDF Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus on Tuesday.
“The extent of damage caused in the Gaza Strip by errant Hamas rockets will be difficult to assess for some time,” Jonathan Schanzer, Senior Vice President at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told The Algemeiner. “The Hamas ministry of health is the entity that provides the media with casualty statistics. Those statistics are not likely to be honest about Gazans struck by Hamas versus those struck by Israel.”
“Of course, Israel continues to take great pains to minimize civilian casualties. But it is impossible to prevent them entirely in a conflict like this, particularly as Hamas also utilizes the cynical practice of firing from behind human shields,” he added.
As Tel Aviv came under fire on Tuesday evening from a barrage of rockets launched from Gaza, the Israeli army sent a message to Gaza citizens: “The IDF is striking Hamas weapons stores hidden inside civilian buildings in Gaza. Although Hamas wants to put you in harm’s way, we urge you to stay away from Hamas’ weapons sites and get to safety. Our goal is only to strike terror.”
During past conflicts with Hamas, casualties initially attributed by Gazan officials and media reports to Israeli operations were later said by the IDF to have been caused by errant rockets, including two deadly 2014 explosions at the Al-Shifa hospital and Al-Shati refugee camp.