Gaza rockets expand reach into northern Israel

( At least two Gaza rockets fell in open areas near Zikhron Ya'akov, a northern Israeli city on the Carmel mountain, just 23 miles south of Haifa. The attack is being described as the furthest-reaching rocket fire since the beginning of the latest Israel-Gaza conflict. Additionally, the Hamas terrorist group said it fired a rocket directly at Haifa. 

A rocket hits Beersheba during the 2008-2009 Israel-Gaza conflict. More than 200 rockets have been fired from Gaza at Israel in the current escalation of the conflict in the region. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Overall, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) reports that more than 225 rockets have been fired at Israel since Monday, with 40 of them intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.

"The backbone of Hamas's missile batteries is the Grad missile, a standard 122-mm rocket with a 20-40 km range and a metal fragmentation warhead designed to cause casualties,” Tal Inbar, head of the Space Research Center at the Fisher Institute for Air & Space Strategic Studies, told Globes.

But Inbar said, “In an absolute majority of cases, the security area is sufficient protection against a rocket of this type."

"Hamas knows that even if all its ammunition fell on Israel in one fell swoop, it would not bring Israel to its knees. The threat of rockets from Gaza is a nuisance whose damage-causing ability is limited. ... The interceptor systems have proved themselves wonderfully well, causing Hamas a great deal of frustration,” he added.

After launching Operation Protective Edge in Gaza in response to the escalation in Hamas rocket attacks, Israeli forces began warning Palestinian civilians that an area in their vicinity would be targeted. This is a common practice by the IDF before attacks on densely populated Gaza. Nevertheless, Hamas has continued the practice of using civilians as so-called “human shields,” with Ma'an News Agency reporting that “dozens of locals [in Gaza] had gathered on the roof of [a] house after the family received a notice from Israeli authorities that it would be targeted.”

Seven Palestinians were killed and 25 were injured in an Israeli airstrike on Tuesday night, according to reports.

Posted on July 9, 2014 .