Hamas Has Not Yet Fired Rockets, and Will Determine Whether Battle Becomes War

Despite bravado from Ismail Haniyeh and over 100 rockets fired toward Israel on Friday alone, security officials believe that Hamas is not eager to drag itself into another all-out confrontation

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Hamas rockets fired towards Israel in May 2021.
Hamas rockets fired towards Israel in May 2021.Credit: Eliyahu Hershkovitz

Hamas has not yet launched rockets into Israel on Friday, with Islamic Jihad responsible for the barrages so far, the Israeli military said.

Israel assassinated Tayseer al-Jabari, the head of Islamic Jihad's military wing in the northern Gaza Strip, prompting the militant group to fire "over 100 rockets" toward Israel. No injuries were reported.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh blamed Israel for the escalation on Friday and threatened that "all options are open" in response to Israel's attacks on the Gaza Strip, though security officials still believe Hamas is not eager to get dragged into a drawn-out confrontation with Israel.

According to a senior Israeli security official, Hamas' willingness to join the fighting will determine whether the violence with the Islamic Jihad spirals into an all-out war.

Senior Israeli security officials currently maintain that Hamas won't join the campaign as they "can only lose," and believe that the rise of the number of Gazans working in Israel and control over Palestinian exports from the Strip give them more leverage to pressure Hamas than in the previous round of fighting.

In May 2021, Israel and Gaza's militant groups exchanged fire in an 11-day war that spilled over into mixed Arab-Jewish cities in Israel and the West Bank, leaving over 250 Palestinians and over a dozen Israelis dead.

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