Analysis: Why was a single rocket fired last night?

Islamic Jihad launches rocket, failing to hit Israeli territory. Organization denies, claiming Israel using opportunity to further agenda.


Islamic Jihad mobile launcher
Islamic Jihad mobile launcher
Flash 90

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said Tuesday that a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip that landed in the sea off Israel's southern coastline overnight was launched "deliberately" by Islamic Jihad militants in the enclave in an effort to derail ongoing efforts to maintain a fragile ceasefire agreement.

The IDF said that the Iran-backed Palestinian militant group had intended to hit land, but that the rocket missed its target and landed in the Mediterranean sea.

But the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group denied, calling the charge a "fabrication that the occupation wants [to use in order to achieve] specific goals, most important of which is inciting against Islamic Jihad,” PIJ official Walid al-Qatati told its affiliate publication.

“The Al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of the Islamic Jihad movement, has not announced that it shot a rocket toward the occupation,” he reportedly told Palestine Today.

The army specifically named Islamic Jihad commander Baha Abu al-Ata as having given the order to fire the rocket after receiving a directive from the group's leader Ziyad al-Nakhalah in Damascus.

According to the IDF, the Islamic Jihad is “trying to maintain a low profile so Hamas doesn’t know” that it’s seeking to undermine the ceasefire efforts, despite claims by the two groups that they are cooperating.

In response to the rocket fire the permitted fishing zone was reduced to six nautical miles from the Gaza coastline, Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) liaison unit said.

Israel had earlier this month agreed to extend the fishing zone to 15 nautical miles (28 kilometers), up from the previous limit of nine nautical miles (17 kilometers), as part of a ceasefire brokered by Egypt after a major flare-up sparked by a rocket attack that scored a direct hit on a home in central Israel.

Israel has fought three wars with Gaza's Hamas rulers since 2008, and a number of flare-ups in recent years have repeatedly brought the sides to the brink of a fourth conflict.