Ya'alon: 80% of Hamas's Rocket Arsenal Destroyed

Defense Minister reiterates early figures that as many as 8,000 rockets were destroyed - but declines to call operation a 'success.'

Tova Dvorin ,

Hamas terrorists parade rocket (file)
Hamas terrorists parade rocket (file)
Flash 90

The IDF decimated about 80% of Hamas's total rocket arsenal during Operation Protective Edge in Gaza, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon stated Monday.

Ya'alon, speaking at the Begin-Sadat center at Bar-Ilan University, summed up the entirety of the operation from his standpoint at a special conference over the fifty-day war.

The Defense Minister revealed that he convened the security cabinet several times over the course of the operation, in light of reports circulating that government ministers were skirting the real issues.

Ya'alon also said that, in his view, Hamas attacked Israel "out of distress."

"[Gaza] is isolated, politically and territorially," Ya'alon noted, adding that its calls to remove a transportation blockade have less to do with Israel's restrictions, and more to do with "Egypt's change in leadership." 

Egypt, under recently-elected President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, has indeed moved to isolate Hamas, accusing it of backing the Muslim Brotherhood on its own territory. 

In addition to closing the Rafah border crossing and essentially imposing a siege on Gaza, Egypt has also sealed most of the smuggling tunnels that are used to transport fuel and goods from Sinai, but also weapons and terrorists.

Success?

Ya'alon's estimate echoes an IDF officer's statement toward the end of the fifty-day war, whereby a military source close to Arutz Sheva revealed that some 70% of Hamas's arsenal had been decimated by August 23. 

Ya'alon also offered similar figures in a separate summary earlier this month. 

"The terror organizations in the Gaza Strip - Hamas Islamic Jihad and others - had 10,000 rounds at the beginning of Operation Protective Edge," he said at the time.

"Today they have about a fifth of that but that's still 2,000 rounds," he said, adding that every interception of an incoming rocket by Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system cost $100,000.

Four weeks after the operation, Ya'alon has held by those figures. But he declined to call the operation a "success." 

"Time will tell what we have achieved," he concluded. 



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