During the past week, the Hamas terror group has fired dozens of rockets toward Israel’s Tamar natural gas rig, which was drained of fuel and temporarily taken offline at the start of the fighting, The Times of Israel has learned.
None of these rockets came close to striking the rig, which is protected by a ship-borne Iron Dome anti-missile battery and other defensive systems. As rockets produced in the Strip are not precision-guided munitions, they are highly unlikely to ever hit the rig, an exceedingly small target to hit from the coast.
Unmanned aerial vehicles carrying explosives, like the ones shot down by an F-16 fighter jet over the sea last week, could more effectively target the rig, requiring the Israeli Navy’s considerable air defenses.
Overall, the navy has successfully prevented all of Hamas’s attempts to use its naval capabilities against Israeli targets at sea and on shore. The IDF has also destroyed most of the terror group’s naval infrastructure and weaponry over the past week, including several autonomous submarines that Hamas has developed in recent years, each capable of carrying 30 kilograms (66 pounds) of explosives and guided by GPS, though the military believes that several more of the weapons may still be in Hamas’s possession.
The head of Hama’s naval and submarine research and development department was also killed in an Israeli strike. Despite certain reports to the contrary in the Hebrew press, the military does not believe that it has killed the head of Hamas’s naval commando unit, though it has noticed that he has not been in contact with other members of the terror group and is officially designated by the IDF to be “missing.”
“The most significant thing, as in all of the IDF, is denying [the enemy] capabilities and establishing strong defense. Therefore, we have attacked bases, vessels, weapons warehouses, infrastructure and operatives. We have acted so that the naval arms of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas would be depressed,” the head of the Israeli Navy Maj. Gen. Eli Sharvit tells reporters.