It has been a few years since a war in the Middle East, so we are about due for another. It seems that the next war may be coming to a boil along the Israeli-Gaza border.
The fighting started yesterday with an estimated 36 rockets fired by Hamas in Gaza toward Israeli cities. AP reports that the Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepted some rockets, but at least one hit a house in the Israeli town of Sderot, injuring six people. Blogger Joel Rosenberg reports that as many as 200 missiles have been fired and 11 Israelis injured.
Israel responded with a series of airstrikes on Hamas targets in Gaza. The targets included “an offensive maritime terror tunnel ... several terror sites in military compounds throughout the Gaza Strip ... rocket manufacturing facilities and a central logistical military complex.” Gaza’s Health Ministry reported that three Palestinians were wounded.
It isn’t clear what prompted Hamas to begin missile attacks in an area that has been quiet for several years. The last serious fighting in the region was in 2014 when Israel responded to more than 4,500 rocket attacks by launching ground incursions into Gaza. Since then, a shaky truce has prevailed.
It is possible that the renewed fighting is related to President Trump’s decision to end the Iran nuclear deal and reimpose sanctions on the rogue nation. Iran provides both military and economic aid to Hamas, the ruling power in Gaza.
The fighting might also be due to the end of the Syrian civil war. For the past few years, Iran has been assisting the Syrian government forces in their battle against rebels. Now that the Syrian government is on the verge of victory, Iran has the opportunity to refocus its efforts against Israel.
There has never been any question that Iran’s ultimate goal was to confront and destroy Israel. The only question was when. Now that Iran is consolidating its gains in Syria, it has the ability to face Israel on two fronts. It is likely that the fragile peace that Israel has enjoyed for several years is gone for the foreseeable future.
[Photo: Eight Qassam launchers, seven equipped with operating systems and one armed and ready to launch, were uncovered during a counter-terrorism operation in northern Gaza. Had it been launched, this Qassam would have targeted Israel's civilian population. Credit: IDF]