Since April 2001, Palestinian armed groups have been using rocket fire as one tactic in fighting Israelzzz*zs occupation. Most, if not all, rockets are fired from the Gaza Strip.
According to the Israeli organization, the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, the number of rockets and mortars fired at Israel include:
- in 2001, 4 rockets, 245 mortars, total of 249
- in 2002, 35 rockets, 257 mortars, total of 292
- in 2003, 155 rockets, 266 mortars, total of 421
- in 2004, 281 rockets, 876 mortars, total of 1175
- in 2005, 179 rockets, 238 mortars, total of 417
- in 2006, 946 rockets, 22 mortars, total of 968
- in 2007, 890 rockets, 749 mortars, total of 1639
- in 2008, 1573 rockets, 1531 mortars, total of 3104
These numbers include the tahdiya or lull mediated by Egypt between June and November 2008, when 20 rockets, 18 mortars were fired. Hamas denied responsibility for those attacks, charging smaller groups with breaking the ceasefire.
After Israelzzz*zs raid into the occupied Gaza Strip on November 4 which killed six Hamas members, a new wave of hostilities resumed.
In the period from November 4 to December 19, 2008 203 rockets, 121 mortars were launched.
During the Gaza war from December 27, 2008 to January 18, 2009, the number of rockets fired reached 571, and the number of mortars fired was 205.
Figures provided by B’Tselem show the number of casualties from rockets between June 2004 to the end of Gaza war, in January 2009. A total of 19 civilians and two Israeli soldiers were killed in Israel by rockets and mortars.
Prior to Israelzzz*zs withdrawal from the occupied Gaza Strip in 2005, one Israeli civilian and one foreign national were killed by Qassam rockets in Gaza settlements. During this period, five Palestinians were also killed by the rocket fire.
ROCKETS AND PALESTINIAN PUBLIC OPINION
Palestinian public support for the firing of rockets has gradually decreased since JMCC polls in 2006 first gauged this issue. In July 2006, more than 60% of respondents backed the continuation of rocket-fire against Israeli targets; on the other hand, 36% rejected them as harmful to Palestinian national interests.
In 2007, 44% of Palestinians supported the firing of rockets into Israel while 56% opposed this kind of action, according to polls by Near East Consulting. Moreover, 70% of respondents believed that firing rockets into Israel did not provide any real benefit for the Palestinians.
In 2008, nearly 23% of Palestinians showed their support and 21% expressed strong support for rocket fire from the Gaza Strip against Israel, while almost 39% rejected and 14% strongly rejected the rocket firings, according to polls conducted by An-Najah University.