As Hamas has stepped up its attacks on communities near the Gaza Strip—using incendiary devices attached to kites and balloons—Israel has begun to retaliate more forcefully. In response, the terrorist group has begun firing rockets and mortars into Israel. Yoav Limor comments:
What made Wednesday’s rocket salvo different is that unlike previous flare-ups on the border [since 2014], this time it was Hamas operatives who fired at Israel, as opposed to Islamic Jihad or the rogue terrorist group in the coastal enclave. Still, Hamas made sure the attack followed most of the familiar “rules”—only [firing] at night and only at the communities in the vicinity of Gaza, and apparently while also trying to minimize any casualties, to avoid further escalation. . . .
The first reason [for the shift in tactics] is Israel’s own change of policy with regard to kite terrorism. It took Israel far too long to define the incessant waves of incendiary kites sent over the border as actionable acts of terror, but once it did, the IDF began systematically countering them, including firing warning shots at terrorist kite cells and targeting Hamas assets in Gaza in retaliation.
The second reason is Hamas’s own frustration and distress in Gaza. Since the border-riot campaign was launched on March 30, some 150 of its operatives have been killed and the Israeli military has carried out over 100 strikes on Hamas positions in the coastal enclave, all while Hamas has nothing to show for it. In this situation, Hamas is searching for [some sort of victory] by declaring that “bombings will be met with bombings,” as Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said Wednesday, in order to portray itself as defending Gaza from Israel. . . .
Hamas is banking on Israel opting against a military campaign in Gaza at this time so as not to split its focus from the [developments in Syria], but it is sorely mistaken if it thinks Israel will simply contain kite terrorism or shy away from action given the new equation it has presented. At some point, Israel’s patience will expire.
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