Rocket Prompts First Exchange in Two Months
Also, report: Hamas secured sophisticated anti-aircraft weapons from Libya
It began last night when a large Grad rocket from Gaza landed somewhere near Ashdod, in Israel, prompting sirens but, fortunately, no injuries. This morning, Israel responded by striking a few terrorist centers, including a weapons storage site, in Gaza. The smart money has it that the original rocket was fired by a group that was not Hamas; after all, Hamas currently has an unusual amount of capital in both the court of international opinion and even with Israel after the Gilad Shalit swap, and is already deploying it to restart unity talks with Fatah from a more advantageous position, and so presumably would not want to spoil its good situation.
More worrisome is the Haaretz report (by frequent Tablet Magazine contributors Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff) that Hamas was able to secure advanced, Russian-built anti-aircraft weapons that were looted from Libya during the Qaddafi regime’s last days. Theoretically, greater ground-to-air capacity could threaten Israel’s freedom of movement over Gaza’s airspace as well as, potentially, civil aviation from the southern Israeli port city of Eilat. “The anarchy in Sinai in recent months,” Harel and Issacharoff add, “has allowed the Palestinians in Gaza to operate almost without interference, and improve their training and weaponry.”