This year, some 180 rockets and mortar shells have landed in Israel (more than 200 shells and rockets landed by accident in Gaza ). By comparison, in 2008, a year that ended with Cast Lead, more than 4,000 rockets were fired at Israel.
Why has this minor escalation occurred now? It appears that Hamas is testing Israeli responses and wants to carve out space to operate and attack without instigating a major confrontation. Hamas’ political chiefs have succumbed to pressure from the organization’s military leaders, who want to blow off some steam via actions against Israel. Hamas also believes that the IDF has a harder time operating against missile launchers during the winter.
Hamas tried to clarify on Tuesday that the organization does not want to escalate attacks on Israel. Some of the groups that took part in mortar shelling and rocket fire against Israel over the past 48 hours are thought to be loyal to Hamas.