IDF annual report: More rockets, less terror acts

Israeli military says 2019 was most violent year since last Gaza war regarding number of projectiles launched at Israeli communities; Palestinian popular terrorism on the decline as knife attacks, firebombings decrease

Yoav Zitun|
Acts of Palestinian terrorism are on the decline while rocket fire at Israeli population centers is on the rise, the IDF said in a recent report summarizing military activity throughout the calendar year of 2019.
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  • In 2019, there were 1,295 documented rocket launches from the Gaza Strip. Of that number, 729 landed in open areas and an additional 478 rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system – about 85% of all rockets launched at populated areas.
    This is the highest number of rockets launched at Israeli communities in a calendar year since 2014, when Israel fought its third war in Gaza, a conflict that lasted 7 weeks.
    2 View gallery
    עזה שיגור חגורה שחורה רקטה רקטות אזעקה צבע אדום
    עזה שיגור חגורה שחורה רקטה רקטות אזעקה צבע אדום
    Rocket fire launched from the Gaza Strip
    (Photo: Reuters)
    Nearly 93% of rocket launches were recorded during various rounds of escalation between Israel and Gaza's terror factions.
    Two IDF soldiers were killed in 2019 by terrorist activity and further 11 soldiers were moderately to seriously wounded.
    Despite a tumultuous year in the West Bank, terrorist activity seems to have decreased in the Palestinian Authority-controlled enclave.
    Only 19 shooting incidents were documented during 2019 as opposed to 33 and 34 in the years 2018 and 2017 respectively.
    Molotov cocktail attacks decreased threefold in 2019 to 290 incidents in comparison with the previous year and the number of stone-throwing incidents dropped from 1,881 incidents in 2018 to 1,469 during the past year.
    There was also a significant decrease in the sums of money confiscated by the IDF in the West Bank - NIS 972,560 was seized throughout 2019, compared to NIS 2,156,989 throughout 2018.
    The number of Palestinians arrested in the West Bank also declined, from 3,173 arrests in 2018 to 2,238 arrests made in the past year. By comparison, even more Palestinians were arrested in 2017 - a total of 3,527.
    This trend is indicative of the downturn in popular terrorist acts after a wave of Palestinian violence recorded in 2016 and 2017, known as "the lone wolf intifada" or the "knife intifada" and led to the deaths of 38 Israelis and left more than 500 wounded.
    This can also be seen in the number of attacks recorded throughout the year across the West Bank and Jerusalem, with just 51 attacks in 2019 as opposed to 76 attacks in 2018, 75 attacks in 2017 and 141 attacks in 2016.
    2 View gallery
    תרגיל בלו פלאג של חיל האוויר
    תרגיל בלו פלאג של חיל האוויר
    Members of the Israel Air Force
    (Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
    On the northern front, the IDF sought to focus its attention on the Iranian effort to establish a military presence in Syria and the strengthening of Hezbollah in Lebanon with the delivery of advanced, precision weaponry. The IDF reports carrying out 54 attacks on targets on the Syrian front throughout the year.
    The Israel Air Force has recorded one of its busiest years in the past decade, with more than 1,800 combat deployments, over 600 operational helicopter deployments, over 900 transport missions and more than 40,000 flight hours with unmanned aerial vehicles.
    The IAF evacuated 158 wounded in 213 rescue missions, mostly of civilians.
    At the same time, Israeli Navy missile ships recorded about 11,250 hours sailing at sea, while seaports hosted foreign fleets 32 times in 2019.
    The IDF also reported that the cyber defense community led by the Computer and IT Directorate thwarted hundreds of cyberattacks against the State of Israel, also citing Hamas's first-ever cyberattack attempt against Israel.
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