TEL AVIV — The massive escalation of Gaza terror rocket and mortar attacks aimed at Israeli civilian population zones over the last twenty-four hours combined with the terror kite onslaught indicates that a desperate Hamas continues to do Iran’s bidding despite the potentially disastrous consequences.
In a notable development, Hamas issued a joint statement with the Iran-backed Islamic Jihad terrorist organization officially taking responsibility for the salvo of 45 rockets and mortars fired toward southern Israeli towns. The barrage of projectiles followed the IDF’s targeting of Hamas infrastructure after some 20 brush fires in southern Israel were sparked by flammable kites, balloons and assorted other objects launched as part of Hamas’s continued campaign against Israel.
The deceptive joint statement by Hamas and Islamic Jihad claimed that the two terror groups “targeted seven Israeli military positions near Gaza… in response to continued Israeli aggression against resistance sites in Gaza.”
Military installations were not the target. The rockets were launched toward Israeli towns. And the projectiles were not in response to “continued Israeli aggression” but rather followed Israeli self-defense against Hamas-orchestrated incendiary device attacks.
Islamic Jihad answers directly to Iran and cannot make a major move in Gaza without explicit permission from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
Hamas is risking an all-out war that can devastate the terrorist organization. Already Gaza’s Hamas dictators are teetering on the brink after their border riots failed to achieve much, and there is widespread and growing anger in Gaza over the territory’s all but collapsed economy. While Hamas may be attempting to use the violence to pressure Israel into some sort of ceasefire, it must know that it is playing with its own survival in the event of a full-blown conflict.
Already turned away from other state-sponsors, Hamas understands that it needs Iranian patronage and its strategic alliance with Tehran and seems to be allowing Iran to heat up Israel’s southern border.
In a previous analysis that is worth reviewing, I document the reasons Iran may want to start a conflict in Gaza:
Iran has been humiliated and strategically devastated by Israel’s repeated strikes against Iran-run military bases in Syria and has been feeling the pressure.
The IDF released satellite photos showing the devastation its warplanes wreaked on Iranian bases during the bombing campaign earlier this month that marked the largest IDF action inside Syria since the 1973 Yom Kippur War. This after Iranian forces in Syria fired a volley of around 20 rockets aimed at IDF positions on the Golan Heights — the first time Iran was accused of directly rocketing Israel.
There have since been more airstrikes in Syria attributed to Israel targeting Iran-run bases. The volleys started after Iran brazenly dispatched an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) into Israeli territory in February before it was quickly shot down by the Israeli military. An IDF investigation revealed the Iranian drone, sent from the Iran-run T-4 airbase in Syria, was carrying explosives and seemingly deployed to attack an Israeli target.
Iran doesn’t want more Israeli bombardments in Syria, so it must be careful not to provoke another fierce response. Instead, Iran seems to be acting to divert Israel’s attention to the Gaza Strip. It is likely heating up the southern border, perhaps even briefly, as both retaliation and a signal to Israel that Iranian proxies can be turned on at will. For now.
The continued Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror campaign serves as further evidence of Iran’s designs to spark a major conflict on Israel’s southern border.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.