Friday marks one year since Hamas began its weekly Gaza border riots, the so-called “March of Return.” The IDF is on high alert after the Hamas leader called for a million-person march.
By Aryeh Savir, TPS
Friday will mark exactly one year since Hamas began its weekly Gaza border riots and attacks, the so-called “March of Return.”
On Wednesday, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh called for a million-person march on Israel’s border and the IDF is now on high alert, streaming heavy re-enforcements to the border, including an armored division and artillery, preparing for what could be a violent few days.
“I urge our Palestinian people in Gaza, the occupied West Bank and abroad to march on Palestinian Land Day and take part in One-Million Demonstration of Land and Return next week,” Haniyeh said in a press release.
According to public statements by the Hamas terror organization and the IDF’s intelligence and operational analysis, these events are part of Hamas’ ongoing armed conflict and active hostilities against Israel.
In fact, a review of the statistics and security-related data from the past year reveals a significant increase in Hamas aggression and violence against the Jewish state.
Since the organized cross-border violence began last March, some 2,200 terror-related incidents have been recorded, including 1,233 rocket and mortar attacks, the latest of which occurred earlier this week.
The violence also included 18 incidents of gunfire from the Gaza Strip and 94 Improvised Explosive Device (IED) incidents, during which one or several explosive devices were hurled across the security barrier, and 600 Molotov cocktail attacks.
November 2018 saw the biggest surge in the number of rocket launches from Gaza with 460 confirmed attacks. While over 100 of the projectiles were intercepted by the IDF Iron Dome air defense system, the rocket fire killed one Israeli and severely wounded three others while 123 suffered light-to-moderate injuries.
In addition to these, since January, activities near the Gaza border have been occurring on an almost nightly basis. These include planting explosives in the border area, burning tires and launching projectiles at IDF forces.
These violent attacks on the border have claimed the life of an IDF soldier whereas four were severely wounded and 12 suffered light-to-moderate injuries.
Beyond the attacks on the border fence, arson balloons and kites launched from the Gaza Strip have also caused some 2,000 fires, at times as many as 30 in a single day.
These blazes have caused extensive damage in an area of approximately 35 square kilometers, including 13 sq. km. of nature reserves and 11 sq. km. of forests. The combined damages incurred by Israelis due to rocket fire and arson balloons from Gaza are estimated at NIS 35 million (approximately $10 million).
Gazans claim that more than 250 civilians have been killed and tens of thousands wounded during the last year of border violence. The IDF has proved — and the Hamas leadership has admitted — that the majority of those who have been killed on the border have been terrorists.