Hamas: Rocket off Tel Aviv Coast Targeted Sea-Dwelling Jews
Gaza City, Gaza Strip (AP) – A Fajr-5 missile struck the Mediterranean Sea off Tel Aviv yesterday, in an attack Hamas says was aimed at Jews living in the water. It is but the latest move by the militant organization to strike terror in the hearts of Israelis.
In the rocket salvo, one exploded in the water and the others were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome system, which is deployed to shoot down medium- and short-range missiles that would otherwise hit populated areas.
“The enemy’s weakness is his assumption that we are trying to hit only the cities,” said Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman. “We will hit the Zionists everywhere; they cannot hide.” Over 700 rockets have struck Israel from the Gaza Strip since January, but only over the weekend did any reach as far as Tel Aviv. Another two fell in open areas south of Jerusalem, where, the Hamas spokesman said, there were known to be “Zionist sheep.” Initially, Hamas had said those missiles were aimed at the Knesset, Israel’s parliament building.
The targeting of Israelis living off the Mediterranean coast represents a shift in Hamas tactics, but an adherence to a venerable strategy, according to John Glubb, a military historian at the University of Amman, Jordan. “Already in 1948, when Israel was founded, Arab leaders vowed to push the Jews into the sea,” referring to the Mediterranean, he said.
“Hamas might have been aiming at more densely populated areas in Israel until now, but the Iron Dome system makes it a more logical choice to target the more vulnerable Israelis – the ones that the Arabs have managed to actually push into the sea in the intervening sixty-four years.”
That type of psychological warfare has served Hamas well in recent episodes of armed conflict, even extending to claiming that specific shards of shrapnel from their rockets were intended for specific targets. A car destroyed by the falling debris from a missile intercepted by the Iron Dome system was a “Zionist vehicle of oppression.” A call to the Peugeot company went unanswered, leaving unclear whether the entire 307 series should be designated as such, or whether the description referred only to the specific unit that was destroyed.
On many occasions Hamas has vowed to “Open the gates of Hell” in response to various Israeli actions, and indeed the gates of Hell appear to be located in the narrow, crowded, impoverished strip.
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