By ANNA AHRONHEIM
One thousands rockets and mortars were fired from the Hamas-run Gaza Strip into southern Israel over the past year, a dramatic rise from the past three years when there were less than 100 in total.
According to statistics released by the IDF on Sunday, of the 1,000 rockets and mortars fired from the Strip, 250 were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome Missile Defense System and 45 projectiles fell in urban areas.
The majority of the rockets and mortars were fired into southern Israel in late November after a botched IDF commando raid in the southern Gazan city of Khan Younis. In the span of 48 hours, close to 500 rockets and mortars were launched, including a Kornet anti-tank missile fired at a bus.
The IDF has struck Gaza a total of 865 times over the past year in response to the firing of rockets towards southern Israel.
While almost every year since Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in 2007 the number of rockets fired towards Israel was in triple digits, 2018 has seen the most serious peak of violence between Israel and terror groups in the strip like Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) since the end of Operation Protective Edge in 2014.
In comparison, a total of 35 projectiles were fired towards Israel in 2017, 15 the previous year, and 21 in 2015 for a total of 71 rockets launched from the coastal enclave by terrorist groups.
In 2007 Israel was hit by 2,433 projectiles, and in 2008 during Operation Cast Lead terror groups fired 3,557 projectiles. In 2012, during Operation Pillar of Defense, Israel was struck by 2,771 rockets. In 2014, which coincided with Operation Protective Edge, Israel was bombarded by 4,897 projectiles.
Israel has also completed 27 kilometers of the country’s underground barrier designed to prevent tunnels from crossing into Israeli territory from Gaza. The barrier will also stretch into the Mediterranean to stave off Hamas infiltration by sea.
The military has also destroyed 15 terror tunnels which infiltrated into Israeli territory this past year, including one operational tunnel which extended into the Mediterranean and would have enabled militants entering a Hamas military post in the northern Gaza Strip to exit into the sea unnoticed.
The IDF has also completed 13 kilometers of a 9-meter-high concrete barrier along the Lebanese border and 2.5 kilometers on the Syrian-Jordan-Israeli border.
Data released by the IDF also showed that seven soldiers and nine civilians were killed and 199 injured in 87 terror attacks in 2018, down from 20 killed and 169 injured in 97 terror attacks the previous year.
According to the military, there was a significant decrease in incidents of stone throwing in 2018, with a total of 2,057 down from 5,082 in 2017. While there was an increase in stabbing attacks from five in 2017 to 17 in 2018, there was a drop in shooting attacks from 34 to 33. According to the IDF, a total of 406 weapons were confiscated by authorities over the past year.
While the military stated that a total of 3,173 Palestinians were arrested by security authorities over the past year, according to the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Commission of Detainees and Ex-detainees Affairs, a total of 6,489 Palestinians, including 1,063 minors and 140 women, were arrested by Israeli authorities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 2018.