This escalation continues the trend of increasing rocket launches recorded last month. It also reflects the feverish pace at which Hamas and other jihad groups in Gaza have been stockpiling weapons, taking advantage of the relative calm as Islamic law intends it: an opportunity for the jihadists to regroup and re-arm for the next round. Accordingly, they have “obtained more than 10,000 rockets and missiles — including a large stockpile of Iranian Fajr-5 rockets that can reach Tel Aviv,” and Hamas has smuggled in three times more explosives since the Egyptian revolution than it brought in during all of 2010.
The use of Grad rockets is the tip of the iceberg, as longer-range rockets allow storage of the weapons farther back from the border, and increase the odds that Israeli action will involve more of the Gaza Strip the next time Hamas bites off more than it can chew in an attack on Israel. And the jihadists will again claim victim status and plead for yet another ceasefire.
“Palestinian Grad rocket explodes near Kiryat Gat,” by Yaakov Lappin for the Jerusalem Post, August 4:
A long-range Grad rocket fired from Gaza landed in open territory in Lachish, near Kiryat Gat.
A police bomb squad is in the area and is searching for the location of the rocket.
The attack represents an escalation in the firing of longer-range rockets. The last time such rockets were fired at Israel was in March, when a number of projectiles landed in the Ashdod and Lachish area, and schools in the area were closed.
Also Wednesday night, a Grad rocket fell near Ashkelon. Police said the rocket landed within Ashkelon city boundaries and damaged a road. A police response team was on the scene.
Air raid sirens were heard in several towns and villages in the south, including the Yoav Regional ouncil, the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council, and the Ashkelon coast Regional Council.
Residents in areas in which sirens were heard rushed into safe areas and shelters to take cover.
On Monday, a woman from a Beduin village was moderately injured by shrapnel from a Palestinian rocket fired at southern Israel from Gaza.
That rocket landed between in open territory in the Ashkelon Coast.
A police response team drove out to the scene of the attack to recover and analyze the projectile. Hours later, the Air Force bombed a number of targets in Gaza in response.