A fourth rocket punctuated the third round of Israeli air strikes over the Gaza Strip that responded to three nights of single Palestinian rocket fire. This last rocket like the others was aimed on Sunday night, Sept. 12 at Sderot and the Eshkol Council. All four Hamas projectiles were intercepted in time by Iron Dome rockets. The military spokesman reported that the fourth rocket prompted an expansion of the Israeli raid to five major Hamas facilities, including a “terror tunnel” as well as training compounds and arms production sites and depots.
The launching of the fourth rocket in the course of the latest Israeli counterstrike marked a change in Hamas tactics. Until now, the Palestinian terrorists ruling the Gaza Strip were wont to fire a rocket or two, wait for Israeli punishment and hold back for a while before launching their next small-scale rocket or arson balloon offensive against the Israeli population next door to the Gaza Strip. On Sunday night, Hamas changed the rules by initiating its next attack while an Israeli punitive operation was still ongoing.
DEBKAfile’s military sources note that Hamas’s decision to change the rules is worrying in the sense that it copycats Syria’s latest mode of retaliation for Israel’s alleged air strikes on pro-Iranian sites. On Sept.3, Syria aimed two SA-5 rockets at central Israel in direct response to a purported air raid over the outskirts of Damascus. Both were intercepted by Israel’s air defense system. This new government in Jerusalem downplayed that event as well another new feature of Hamas aggression. In the past fortnight, Hamas has been seen to direct heavy machine gun fire at its Israeli neighbors – so far without causing casualties. But there is no doubt that Hamas is diversifying its offensive tactics and very much on the warpath.
IDF chief Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi warned that Israel would not tolerate any kind of breach of its sovereignty. “Hamas would pay dear for any escalation,” he said. However, apparently deaf to the jarring sounds of Hamas aggression. Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on Sunday night, launched a “new plan for solving the Gaza issue.” It consisted of “a broad economic recovery plan going forward on the basis of Hamas’ consent to halt rocket fire and accept a commitment to peace.”