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January 26, 2015 10:13 am

Gaza: Hamas Test Fires Rocket Barrage From Ruins of Jewish Village

avatar by Dave Bender

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An Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade soldier kneeling atop a cache of rockets, in front of a portrait of former PLO chairman and architect of Palestinian nationalism, Yasser Arafat. Photo: Screenshot / Nedal.

An Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade soldier kneeling atop a cache of rockets, in front of a portrait of former PLO chairman and architect of Palestinian nationalism, Yasser Arafat. Photo: Screenshot / Nedal.

Palestinian terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip on Monday fired a major barrage of 10 test rockets out to sea from the ruins of a former Israeli village in the evacuated Gush Katif area, apparently in order to test range and accuracy, Israel’s Channel 2 News reported.

It was unclear whether Hamas personnel or members of another group actually carried out the test firing, according to the report.

While such experiments have been increasingly common since last summer’s Operation Protective Edge – itself meant to thwart such fire aimed at Israel – the latest volley is the greatest number fired in one salvo.

Due to a tight IDF naval blockade on the coastal enclave, and Egyptian destruction of smuggling tunnels from Sinai, Palestinian terror groups are unable to smuggle in sufficient rocket supplies, and so produce their own explosives, which may also account for the numerous tests.

About a month ago, a red alert was sounded in several towns in the western Negev bordering Gaza, when a rocket fired from Gaza exploded near a regional council, although the projectile caused no physical casualties or damage.

The IDF, from land, sea, and air, contends that it can keep close electronic and visual tabs on the new tests and immediately detect any shooting carried out by the terror organization.

“We’re aware of Hamas’ training, and the tests they perform with various rockets,” according to an official who spoke with Channel 2.

In early December, army sources said Hamas had aggressively increased its rocket and mortar firing tests into the Mediterranean Sea, in preparation for more fighting with Israel.

“We follow every movement of Hamas. The organization is trying to rebuild its status and condition after getting hit hard during Protective Edge,” a military source said at the time.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon has said that the army and air force destroyed some 80 percent of Hamas’ arsenal of long-range M-75, mid-range Grad, and short-range Kassam rockets and mortars in the 51-day conflict.

However, area council chief Haim Yellin slammed what he viewed as the government’s lax conduct in response to such test flights.

“Anyone who thought the IDF’s deterrence over the ‘Gaza envelope’ was a recipe for quiet, does not understand that wars are not decided by politicians, but rather by the courage to bring peace and security,” Yellin said.

“After Protective Edge, the State had an extraordinary opportunity to bring about a long-term arrangement,” he added. “Instead, we find ourselves with the clock ticking towards escalation and the next war.”

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  • Straightshooter

    Why wait passively to respond to the next missile attack? It’s obvious that the IDF knows where the missiles are being manufactured and tested. Go in and do the job now, rather than wait for more rhetoric, more delay, more provocation, more launches.

  • steven L

    And the Western world behaves like puts. And our President in the meantime mislead the country and reinforces every passing day the position of Iran.

  • Michael Fox

    What Hamas obviously is incapable of understanding is Israel’s true military strength. If the terrorists are unfortunate enough to somehow pierce the defensive armour of the Iron Dome, they will experience pain beyond description. If a major populated area of Israel is hit with significant casualties to the civilian population, Gaza and Hamas will pay the ultimate price.

    Operation “Protective Edge” was a carefully measured response by Israel to Hamas and other terrorist organizations continued aggression of firing rockets without military provocation, into Israel. The cowardly act of using women and children as human shields for a propaganda advantage will be lost if Israel’s cities are attacked.

    Of course the 800lb gorilla in the room is Iran who is responsible for fueling the chaos and death sweeping the Middle East and has aspirations for Shia Islam’s domination of the Middle East. They are the present day Nazi’s and the pathetic and cowardly political leaders in Europe following the lead of US President Obama is asleep at the wheel.

  • “If someone is coming to kill you, rise early and kill him first”

    Israel can see that Hamas will not cease its mission to destroy Israel no matter how many beating they are taking and no matter how many casualties.
    We are dealing with fanatics and extremists.
    There is no solution but to destroy them completely.
    Israel has no choice. It cannot wait to be attacked. When you see them – Hamas practicing and training in the use of missiles, rockets and other tools of war.
    Israel must not wait, but go in and destroy the weapons and its operators immediately. It is their obligation and responsibility to the citizens of Israel.
    YJ Draiman

  • Wm J. Levy

    Just one atomic bomb.

    • la repuesta final, tarde o temprano pasara

  • nelson marans

    With Iran supplying tactical and military support to both Hamas and Hezbollah, it is outrageous that our president considers that Iran can be a partner for peace or even halt its nuclear and missile program. Either our president is short-sighted or does not care.

  • Alan Bly

    Er…what part of “Israel just did it again…again? doesn’t Israel understand. By that I mean, they let Hamas off the hook each and every time. Israel doesn’t seem to understand that caving into pressure by the US President isn’t a formula for peace, or even prolonged quiet, but rather a beginning of the ticking of the clock that will predictably and inevitably bring another costly war. Hamas can not survive without a constant warlike existence and so that’s exactly what it perpetuates. That’s very easy to see and anyone who doesn’t is just silly. The world will hate Israel if it kills 2 Palestinians as much as if 2,500 or 5,000 Palestinians are killed. So, if that’s what it takes to turn Hamas into a real loser, that’s what Israel should do.

  • shloime

    a very wise person once said “it takes two sides to make peace, but only one to make war”.

    hamas has never had any intention of accepting peaceful coexistence, and didn’t even honour temporary ceasefires, so despite mr yellin’s frustration, it isn’t clear what he proposes to do differently, in order to bring peace and security.

    iwhat is clear is that hamas is not hiding its work on ways to defeat iron dome, presumably by coordinating multiple launchers. whether or not they are successful, this is indicative of their intention to resume fighting.

    in the meantime, israel is upgrading iron dome and related defence systems, so that mr yellin and his neighbours can continue to live (and not die), even if not under perfect conditions.