More Gaza civilians were killed by errant rocket fire from Palestinian Islamic Jihad than by Israeli air strikes on the Strip during this weekend’s conflict.
By Pesach Benson, United with Israel
“There were more Palestinian casualties from failed rocket launches than IDF attacks,” the army said in a statement. “Some 900 rockets crossed into Israeli territory; 380 of them were intercepted by the Iron Dome for a success rate of over 95%.”
According to Palestinian figures cited by the Jerusalem Post, a total of 35 Palestinians in Gaza were killed during the 66-hour Operation Breaking Dawn.
Of the 35, nine were terrorists, all affiliated with Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). According to the IDF, Israeli airstrikes wiped out the terror group’s top commanders.
Of the 26 civilians killed, 16 were killed by misfiring PIJ rockets. PIJ and Hamas keep rocket launchers, weapons storage sites, terror tunnels and command and control facilities in close proximity to civilian homes, schools, health care centers and mosques.
Many Gazans have expressed anger at PIJ for killing civilians and embedding itself in populated areas.
In one particular incident, five children were killed when a PIJ rocket struck a home in Jabaliya on Saturday night. The Palestinians sought to blame Israel, but the IDF released footage showing a barrage of rockets being fired from the Strip. One can be seen falling shortly after the launch.
Of the roughly 1,100 rockets launched by PIJ, 200 landed within Gaza, according to the IDF.
Of the 990 rockets that reached Israel, 610 landed harmlessly in open areas or in the sea, while 380 were intercepted by Iron Dome. No Israelis were killed by Palestinian rocket fire. But more than 100 properties suffered damage, according to Israel’s Tax Authority.
According to the IDF, Israel struck 170 targets, including senior PIJ leaders, weapons facilities and terror tunnels.
The Gaza crisis began when Israel arrested Basam al-Saadi, PIJ’s chief of operations in Judea and Samaria, on Monday night in Jenin.
Saadi “worked even harder to restore PIJ activities, and was behind the creation of a significant military force for the organization in [Samaria] in general and in Jenin in particular,” the Shin Bet security agency said.
Bracing for retaliation from Gaza, Israel closed roads and train service near the Strip. Israel’s high alert stemmed not only from concern for Gaza rocket fire but sniper attacks on civilians as well. Gaza terror groups have previously fired guided anti-tank missiles into Israel.
Israeli airstrikes began on Friday afternoon when the PIJ showed no signs of backing down from its threats of revenge.
An Egyptian-brokered truce went into effect on Sunday night. On Monday morning, Israel began opening roads near the Strip and resuming train service between Sderot and Ashkelon.
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