Hamas seen test-launching new longer-range missiles in Gaza


Israel’s southern residents can view from their homes Hamas’ belligerent missile launches, which cast doubt on Israeli wishes that an enduring calm could continue for all concerned.

By Matan Tzuri

Israel’s southern residents, living just minutes from the Gaza border, have become increasingly worried by the sight of rocket experiments conducted by Hamas which can be seen from their home windows.

 Hamas rocket darts across the sky for Israel' southern residents to view - Photo: Ynet video screenshot

Hamas rocket darts across the sky for Israel’ southern residents to view – Photo: Ynet video screenshot

While the IDF is convinced that Hamas currently has little interest in the renewal of hostilities, and with Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman adamant that escalation is currently out of the question, the military also remains certain that the terrorist organization reigning in Gaza is preparing for a future round of violence—a fact which it does virtually nothing to hide.

Indeed, right before the eyes of the residents of Netiv HaAsara, which lies on the northern border with the Gaza Strip, Hamas conducted a exercises on Friday morning involving the use of long-range rockets, each of which left in their tracks plumes of white smoke as they darted across the sky.

One of the moshav’s residents recorded from the window of his home the rockets being launched from the Hamas training facility, located next to al-Attatara, which was built upon the ruins of the Dugit community following Israel’s disengagement from Gaza in 2005.

Hamas routinely carries out such launches as part of their ongoing effort to improve their rockets stockpiles intended to land on Israeli towns during a future conflict with Israel. Additionally, Hamas carries out military drills designed to perfect their subterranean tunnel network, which was largely—albeit not entirely—crippled by the IDF during Operation Protective Edge.

During such drills, Hamas is careful to ensure that the rockets do not land inside Israeli territory and therefore aims them in the direction of the sea or in open fields within the strip.Last Friday, residents of the moshav witnessed not only rocket fire tests, but also machine gun fire and the detonation of bombs. The ominous sounds of explosions and gunfire, combined with the sight of rockets cast into the skies, only serves to increase their sense of foreboding.

“Every time they are trying new weapons,” explains one of Netiv HaAsara residents who viewed the rocket-fire from his window. “But this kind of launching I am yet to have seen. It is extremely worrying. I know that the army is aware of these drills but is prevented from commenting so as not to disrupt the already fragile calm. It obviously cannot continue like this forever because such training has a purpose, at the end of the day.”Exacerbating matters for the residents in the region was the recent distribution of a letter informing them that the deployment of IDF foot-soldiers on the ground would soon cease. The decision—which caused significant discontent from the residents who have had to bear the largest portion of the brunt of Hamas aggression—proved enough to trigger a protest.

Following the intervention of the regional mayors therefore, the IDF Southern Command reversed the decision, announcing that the situation would remain unchanged for the time being and that the IDF presence would continue.


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