According to Israeli officials, the factions in Gaza launched about 1,800 rockets at Israeli ground by Thursday, killing 7 Israelis and wounding dozens of others.
Newspaper reported The New York Times, That despite the enormous Israeli surveillance capacity and the enormous military firepower, the armed factions in Gaza have been able to amass a large arsenal of missiles, since Israel left the Strip, which it controlled after the 1967 war.
Israeli intelligence estimated that Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other Palestinian armed groups had about 30,000 rockets and missiles hidden in Gaza. These missiles have a variable range and lack guidance systems.
According to the American newspaper, the number of rockets fired every day is unprecedented. While most of the rockets appear to target population centers in southern and central Israel, long-range missiles have been fired at Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
An analysis by Michael Armstrong, associate professor of operations research at Brock University in Canada, found a significant increase in the rate of missile launch.
He stated that during the first 24 hours of the latest escalation, 470 rockets were launched from Gaza, compared to a peak of 192 rockets per day in 2014 and 312 rockets in 2012.
“We still don’t know if Hamas has more long-range missiles, or if it chooses to use its best first,” Armstrong said.
Israel succeeded in thwarting many of the rockets launched so far with the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system, destroying them before they land.
However, an increasing number of rockets landed on Israeli territory, some of which had a deadly effect, which may be a result of the intensification of fire in specific directions during the recent escalation.
A large part of the arsenal is believed to be short-range missiles, known as Qassam rockets, which have a range of about 10 kilometers and are produced more easily and inexpensively than long-range weapons.
Hamas also possesses medium-range missiles, based on Iranian and Russian design, that reach targets of up to 25 miles, rendering Israeli targets even the outskirts of Tel Aviv vulnerable. Copies of these weapons are believed to be produced inside Gaza.
In addition, Hamas has long-range missiles that could hit Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Ben Gurion Airport. They include the M-75, a homemade missile with technology provided by Iran, and the J-80, a home-made missile named after the famous Hamas military commander, Ahmed al-Jabari, who was killed in an Israeli air strike in 2012.
On Thursday, Hamas announced, in a statement, that it had a missile with a range of 250 kilometers, called Ayyash, and stated that it had targeted Ramon Airport, which Israel denied, and confirmed that air traffic was not affected.
In the past, medium and long-range missiles were usually smuggled through tunnels along Gaza’s southern border with Egypt, and in some cases disassembled and assembled in Gaza.
But in recent years, as Egypt has made more concerted efforts to close and destroy tunnels, smuggling entire missiles has become more difficult. Therefore, Hamas has developed the production process in the Gaza Strip.
Michael Herzog, the Israel-based international fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and retired brigadier general in the Israel Defense Forces, said Israeli military and intelligence officials are now more concerned about the factions’ capabilities to produce missiles they previously obtained from abroad.
The movement publicly attributed its success to the assistance provided by Iran, which Israel considers its strongest foreign opponent.
In May 2019, Yahya Sinwar, a senior Hamas leader, recognized Iran’s crucial role in helping them. He said, “Without Iran’s support, we would not have had these capabilities.”
An Israeli source told Al-Hurra website, Friday, that “Israel has not yet made a decision to topple Hamas in the Gaza Strip, and that if this decision is taken by the government, the source estimates that such an operation It will take 12 hoursBut he indicated that the repercussions in terms of loss of life would be very large.
While confirming that intensive Israeli strikes have targeted Palestinian organizations in Hamas in recent days, he acknowledged that Hamas and Islamic Jihad still have missile and offensive capabilities, which could enable the two organizations to continue firing rockets at Israeli towns in the coming days.
Concerning the bursts that include dozens of rockets that the Palestinian factions fire at Israel at the same time, the Israeli official said that they are launched from mobile platforms on cars and on the roofs of multi-layered buildings, which makes them difficult to bomb by the army due to their presence in populated areas.