As war grinds on, Israel sees sharp drop in rocket attacks from Gaza

With the ground operation against Hamas advancing, the number of sirens activated in Israeli towns has dropped considerably

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

A picture taken from Israel's southern city of Sderot shows rockets fired from northern Gaza towards Israel on October 30, 2023. (JACK GUEZ / AFP)
A picture taken from Israel's southern city of Sderot shows rockets fired from northern Gaza towards Israel on October 30, 2023. (JACK GUEZ / AFP)

On the sixth week of Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza, rocket attacks on Israeli communities have dropped considerably, data shows.

During the first hours of Hamas’s deadly assault on October 7, more than 3,000 rockets were fired at Israel, providing cover for the thousands of terrorists to cross the Gaza border into southern Israel, where they massacred civilians and killed soldiers by the hundreds.

Israel declared war, and has engaged in an air and ground campaign against the terror group, with the stated aim of ending its rule in Gaza. Since then, another estimated 7,000 rockets have been fired, but at a much slower pace.

In the first days of the war, southern and central Israel were inundated with rockets from the Strip, sending residents fleeing to shelters multiple times a day, with homes struck and civilians injured and killed.

A little over five weeks later, that is no longer the case.

According to data from the IDF’s Home Front Command, 3,523 alerts were activated between October 7 and 14 (the vast majority of alerts are caused by rockets, but there have been a handful of drone attacks and some suspected infiltration alerts).

During the second week of the war, from October 15 to 21, the Home Front Command issued 818 alerts; in the week of October 22 to 28, it issued 802 alerts; and in the week of October 29 to November 4, it issued 582 alerts.

Over the last seven days, from November 5 to 12, it issued 455 alerts, continuing the downward trend.

The IDF believes Hamas is stockpiling rockets for a long war, but that the terror group is also having difficulty launching attacks from northern Gaza, where the Israeli Defense Forces have gained control over large swaths of territory.

Rockets are fired from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, on October 16, 2023. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

According to IDF data released on November 9, some 12 percent of rockets fired from within the Gaza Strip by Hamas — hundreds of launches — have failed and fallen inside the enclave. It is unknown how many of these have caused casualties within the Strip, which does not have advance warning systems or the shelters that are ubiquitous in Israel.

Some of the alerts in recent weeks have been activated due to attacks launched from inside Lebanon, either by the Iran-backed Hezbollah or by allied Palestinian factions.

In addition, the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen have claimed responsibility for several attempted missile attacks that sent people in Israel’s southernmost city of Eilat scrambling for cover. However, none of the missiles has successfully hit its target, as some fell short and landed in Egypt and Jordan, and others were intercepted by Israel, the US, and Saudi Arabia.

On November 10, a drone believed to have been launched from Syria crashed into a school in Eilat, causing a large explosion. No serious injuries were reported in the blast, despite some 40 students who were in the school at the time.

In response to the unprecedented rocket fire, the IDF said last week that, for the first time ever, all of Israel’s air defenses — the short-range Iron Dome, medium-range David’s Sling and Patriot, and long-range Arrow — are active at the same time.

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