This weekend marks the first “anniversary” of the weekly Gaza border violence that Hamas called the “March of Return,” aimed at inspiring Palestinian Authority Arabs elsewhere to likewise engage in terror attacks against Israelis.
Following is a statistical review of the past year’s incidents in relation to the southern border violence, culled from open sources and official data.
The total number of border incidents since March 30, 2018 stands at 2,199, including:
* 1,233 rocket/mortar bomb launches
* 18 incidents of gunfire from the Gaza Strip
* 94 IED incidents, where one or several explosive devices were hurled across the security barrier
* 600 Molotov cocktail incidents
* 152 incidents of arson/burning tires/hurling of various objects
November 2018 saw the biggest surge in the number of rocket launches from Gaza territory, with 460 confirmed incidents. While over 100 of those were intercepted by the IDF Iron Dome air defense system, the rocket fire inflicted casualties: One Israeli was killed, three were severely wounded, 123 suffered light-to-moderate injuries. Violent attacks at the security barrier also caused casualties: One Israeli soldier was killed, four were severely wounded, and 12 suffered light-to-moderate injuries.
Beyond the border area, arson balloons and kites launched from the Gaza Strip are believed to have caused a total of 1,963 fires, sometimes as many as 30+ in a single day. Earlier this week, a shepherd was caught in one such outdoor fire, miraculously escaping with only light injuries.
These fires have caused extensive damage in a land area of approximately 35 square kilometers, including 13 sq. km. of nature reserves and 11 sq. km. of Jewish National Fund forests. The combined damages suffered by Israelis due to rocket fire and arson balloons from Gaza are estimated at approximately NIS 35 million.
Official data sources for this review included IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, Israel Police Spokesperson’s Office, National Fire and Rescue Authority, Israel Tax Authority, Jewish National Fund, Israel Nature and Parks Authority and local authorities in the areas surrounding the Gaza Strip.