Countdown to New Gaza Operation Has Begun – Amos Harel
Since the beginning of January there have been 16 incidents of rocket and mortar fire from Gaza – an average of one a day. They have been the work of Islamic Jihad, which fired six rockets Wednesday night at Ashkelon, and other groups inspired by al-Qaeda. From the moment the pace of rocket fire from Gaza returns to one a day, the countdown begins toward the next round of fighting. Daily rocket fire prompts calls for a resolute response.
No Hamas plan aimed at confrontation with the Israel Defense Forces is seen in Israel, but a certain level of laxity in enforcement of the cease-fire in Gaza could bring about such a confrontation. (Ha’aretz)
See also Israel Warns Hamas over Upsurge in Rocket Fire from Gaza – Crispian Balmer
A senior Israeli military official blamed a recent upsurge in rocket fire out of Gaza on militant groups backed by Iran. “Both sides understand that we will not return to the days prior to the 2012 operation….We won’t go back to a situation where three or four times a week the red alert alarm sounds in southern Israeli towns.”
He speculated that the groups were receiving thousands of dollars from Iran for every successful missile launched. “However, Hamas has proven its ability to prevent terror attacks out of Gaza, so we can demand that they act like a ruler and maintain order.” (Reuters)