Saturday, January 02, 2016

02-Jan-16: Friday night rocket volley on southern Israel: little-reported and most of the damage is inside Gaza

Since they are so rarely reported, Friday night's rocket volley on southern Israel is something we feel the need to mention here:
Two rockets fired from the Gaza Strip exploded in Israel on Friday night, in the south's Sha'ar HaNegev Regional Council. No one was injured and there were no reports of damage. A further two rockets at least were thought to have fallen short and landed inside the Gaza Strip. The number of rockets fired in one volley is unusual in the relative quiet that has persisted since the end of Operation Protective Edge. Several explosions were heard after a rocket alert sounded at 11:07pm in Sderot and communities in Sha'ar HaNegev... [Ynet, Friday January 01, 2016]
Other Friday night reports indicated that the volley consisted of five rockets. Two crashed into Israel, as Ynet reported, and three are "Fell Shorts", meaning they failed to get as far as Israel and fell and exploded onto the heads and homes of Palestinian Arabs living in the Hamas-dominated Gaza Strip.

The outcomes of these Fell Shorts, which represent a large proportion of all the Israel-bound rockets despatched by Gaza's rocket-rich terrorists, are almost always shrouded in Hamas-imposed secrecy. It's a very rare thing for news reporters to challenge that news ban. So there's very little understanding outside of Israel and Gaza about the death, injuries and damage caused to Gazans by the flourishing rocket-firing industry based there.

In Haaretz, Jack Khoury says he knows who is seeking "credit" for last night's explosions:
Israeli detection systems picked up the launches and identified two projectiles that crossed the border, the other three exploded on the Gaza side of the border... The "Aj'nad Beit al-Maqdis" (Soldiers of the Holy Temple) organization, ideologically affiliated with Al-Qaida, claimed responsibility for the five rockets fired from Gaza toward southern Israel on Friday... According to Gaza residents, it is possible that minority factions operating on the ground took advantage of the stormy weather to carry out the rocket fire... There is often tension among Hamas and organizations affiliated with ISIS and Al-Qaida regarding operations on the ground in Gaza. Disputes over power struggles between commanders in the field are often expressed through rocket fire toward Israel. Israel's defense establishment therefore responds proportionately, in order not to provoke an additional response from Hamas.
Was it Aj'nad Beit al-Maqdis? Times of Israel says terrorists
affiliated with the Islamic State terror group claimed responsibility Saturday for firing rockets at Israel from the Gaza Strip late on Friday night. The Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis Islamist group issued a statement hailing its attacks on “occupied Palestine” and gloating that it had “turned night into day” for residents in the Sderot area. Nonetheless, Israel has said it holds Gaza’s Hamas rulers responsible for any attacks out of the Hamas-run Strip.
If the jihadists of Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis are the shooters, they come with a long record of mayhem [see here]. We have posted about them here at least a dozen times, most recently when they launched a rocket at Israel on a day when school-children were on the roads and could easily be hit ["01-Sep-15: Inbound rocket from Gaza announces new school year"]; that assault, like three of Friday's rockets, was also a Fell Short.

Designated as terrorists by Egypt, United Kingdom and the United States among others, the Ansar people have claimed to be part of ISIS since November 2014.

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