Terrorists from Hamas-controlled Gaza attacked Israel 680 times last year in the midst of ”ceasefires” and “calm,” but foreign media still report that Hamas has generally maintained a ceasefire.
The IDF reports that 680 rockets, mortars and Grad missiles were fired at southern Israel in 2011, according to data compiled by the Home Front Command.
The military is preparing for a wide range of future scenarios, including the firing of longer-range missiles at Israel while Hamas continues to build a large arsenal of advanced weapons, including anti-aircraft missiles that can down a commercial airliner.
Last year, 80 Grad missiles were fired at Israel, compared with only two the previous year. Grads have a longer range and more lethal explosive payload than other rockets fired at Israel.
However, as recently as last week – December 30 – the Associated Press told its readers worldwide, “After suffering heavy losses in the fighting, Hamas has largely maintained a cease-fire with Israel.” The report followed an Israel counter terrorist attack on a terrorist and noted that Hamas has built up a huge arsenal of weapons.
Three days later, two mortar shells containing phosphorous were fired from Gaza on a southern Israeli farming area, a violation of international laws against using the material in attacks on civilians.
Nearly one-third of all rocket strikes in 2011 took place during three periods of escalation, totaling around 15 days overall. Five rockets exploded on or near buildings in Israel.
The Home Front Command's Southern District continued to upgrade the warning system for the residents of southern Israel, and it is working to improve mobile phone, Internet and television warning systems.
"Since Operation Cast Lead [two years ago], the sirens have been improved and today they work much better," said a senior Home Front Command official.
In recent months, the Home Front Command completed preparations for the possibility of another military operation in the Gaza Strip, as well as a wide range of scenarios, including rockets striking areas more than 20 miles from Gaza. The Home Front Command is also preparing for scenarios in which more than 1,000 rockets are launched at Israel.