Is Ashkelon the Next Sderot?
Missiles have begun falling on the city of Ashkelon in southern Israel. On Thursday night, 10 Grad missiles blasted the sleeping city. This is the first time Ashkelon has experienced such a large attack. Although no one was seriously injured, it indicates that Hamas’s border breach with Egypt earlier this year has enabled it to upgrade its missile arsenal.
To reach Ashkelon, the terrorists need to fire modified Grad 122-mm missiles. Thursday was not the first time these Soviet-made missiles had rained on Israel—terrorists began launching Grads two years ago. This is, however, the first time Hamas has been able to launch 10 at once.
According to the Jerusalem Post:
The fact that terror groups were able to fire up to 10 Grads at Ashkelon on Thursday demonstrated the new and far more dangerous strategic situation that now exists in the southwest corner of the country.
The breach in the border fence with Egypt last month has clearly allowed Hamas and Islamic Jihad to bring in a far more substantial stockpile of the weapon, as well as personnel who have been professionally trained abroad (in Iran, Syria or Lebanon) to effectively modify and launch the missiles.
Ashkelon is a much larger town than Sderot. It contains a power plant, an oil pipleline and other vulnerable installations. With more long-range rockets, Hamas is able to hurt Israel even more than before.
Ashkelon could well become the next Sderot.
Last month Hamas busted open the Egypt-Gaza border, which Israel had entrusted Egypt to defend. Egyptian patrolmen reportedly sat and watched Hamas rush into Egypt. “Egyptian security men at the border were very passive—they wanted this to happen,” said one terrorist. “They didn’t prevent anything from coming in or going out.” Now Hamas has more missiles and are hitting Israel harder.
Israel sacrificed Gaza in return for peace. It has been repaid with murder. Its capitulation and retreat gave the terrorists the chance to launch more attacks.
Israel’s land-for-peace strategy cannot and will not work. One look at Sderot proves it. And now Hamas, supported by Iran and aided by Egypt, is using Gaza to spread its rain of missiles even further.