The attack on Israel involving some 600 rockets from Gaza in a 24-hour period, reaching the crescendo of hundreds of rockets fired around nine in the evening, blanketing central and southern Israel – may be linked to Iran’s warnings about a single, large operation.
Iran’s IRGC head Hossein Salami warned last week that Israel was vulnerable to one large tactical operation because the country is so small. He pointed to the S-200 fired from Syria near Dimona and other threats to Israel as an example of how vulnerable the country is.
The massive rocket fire launched on May 11, an unprecedented series of barrages targeting Ashkelon, attempting to test the abilities of Israel’s multi-layered air defenses, appear to be part of an Iranian-inspired plan. This is because Islamic Jihad, an Iranian proxy, is involved in the rocket fire and because Hamas is backed by Iran.
Iran pays close attention to Israel’s internal politics and media. Nasrallah also does. He was watching the story about the dozens of Israelis killed on Mount Meron. Iran has been studying Israel’s method of retaliation and also its ability to manage the conflict with Hamas. This “management” has gone on for years since the 2014 war. It has involved numerous rounds of attack on Israel in which Israel would carry out airstrikes, but would avoid a ground operation.
Hamas is setting the pace – and that pace may be one that is being watched or even guided from Iran. This may be due to the fact that Hezbollah wants to know what it looks like when Israel is faced with a large amount of rocket fire. They will be paying attention to every instance where rockets made it through.
Hamas has also shown over the years, firing rockets out to sea, that it has kept itself limbered and ready for the next round. Many had said Hamas was ossifying after 14 years in power with little to show for it. It wanted elections in the Palestinian Authority to break out of Gaza, but t didn’t get to have those elections. Its rockets are what it has left.
However, it has also shown it can dictate the tempo, a tempo and a tactical operation that Iran predicted a week ago in a Quds Day message. That message reached Gaza and Islamic Jihad; it now has reached Tel Aviv and Jerusalem through rockets.