Did lightning launch Palestinian rockets at Israel?

An Israeli aeronautical engineer says lightning could have led to the firing of Hamas rockets last Wednesday.

By Jack Gold, World Israel News

Footage of the rockets fired at Israel on Wednesday taken in Gaza shows a thunderstorm prior to their launch, leading some to speculate that the rockets were actually set off by the storm and not intentionally fired by Hamas terrorists.

Is this scenario plausible? Dr. Gabi Avital, an Israeli expert on aeronautical engineering, says it’s not outside the realm of possibility.

Speaking to Israel’s Kipa website, Avital, the former chief scientist of the education ministry, explained that when systems are not properly maintained, they are prone to malfunctions.

“The level of operation, maintenance and surface conditions in which the [rocket] launchers are located are not at the level of skilled units, so a lot of safety problems can arise, and the less you maintain, the more likely you are to fail,” he said.

He added that it is reasonable to assume that the system operators “did not back up the system for an event of a lightning strike, and the possibility that lightning ignited a system definitely exists.”

Shortly after one of the rockets directly hit and demolished a house in Beersheba and another rocket landed in the sea adjacent to an great metropolitan area of Tel Aviv, Hamas issued a rare statement claiming that they were not responsible for the fire.

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A few hours later, Israeli journalist Shimrit Meir tweeted that “media outlets close to Hamas claim that it was lightning that hit the missiles and caused them to be launched. I understand that this is a possibility that we [Israel] do not reject outright.”

Israeli journalist Ben Caspit lent further credence to this seemingly outlandish theory when he reported that the notion of a freak storm that caused the launch was not rejected out of hand by Israel.

Regardless of whether the lightning was behind the launch, the fact remains that the rockets were aimed at southern and central Israel.

Commenting on a scenario in which lightning nearly ignited a full-fledged conflict between Israel and Hamas, IDF Radio reporter Jack Hougy said: “Do you know where such incidents happen? In the cartoons!”