The latest escalation in southern Israel over the weekend has demonstrated that Hamas continues to improve the precision of its rockets.
Nine out of 40 rockets fired from the Gaza Strip on Friday and Saturday were supposed to explode in urban centers. Seven were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system and two exploded within Gaza border communities, causing property damage.
With a 22% success rate and taking into account that Iron Dome is 85–90% effective, dozens of rockets may hit urban centers in the country's south should the conflict escalate and Gaza terror groups fire hundreds of rockets per day.
In previous rounds of escalation over the past two years, Hamas tried to bypass Iron Dome through massive salvos, overwhelming the defense system.
These attempts were partially successful and even led to the death of an Israeli in Ashdod but since then, the defense establishment has also upgraded the system's capabilities to deal with concentrated volleys in a variety of ranges. This past weekend ended with relative success for Hamas, even if it did not claim any Israeli casualties.
However, each such attack on Israel allows it to better map Hamas' capabilities and hamstring it to prevent the next conflict or catch the terror group unprepared.
Hamas' drone unit, naval commando, intelligence gathering and tunnel networks have suffered considerable damage from the IDF over the past two years — but Hamas has not given up.
The terrorist organization is likely trying — albeit without much success — to smuggle precision equipment into the Gaza Strip that will allow it to turn its rockets into missiles, similar to Hezbollah's precision-guided missile program in Lebanon.
Israel has been making great efforts over the past year and a half to foil such smuggle attempts even outside the Gaza Strip.
The IDF Southern Command estimates that Hamas is still far from obtaining or producing such tie-breaking weapons and has not been able to smuggle standard arms into the Gaza Strip for years due to IDF activity but the last round proves that the Islamist group has been making strides toward this goal.
First published: 18:57, 04.25.21