Ideas. Action. Impact. The Washington Institute for Near East Policy The Washington Institute: Improving the Quality of U.S. Middle East Policy

Other Pages

Policy Analysis

PolicyWatch 1635

Resistance and Rockets: Hamas Targeting of Israeli Civilians

Jeffrey White

Also available in العربية

Policy #1635

February 25, 2010

Recently, Hamas has gone to extraordinary lengths to prove that it did not attack civilian targets in Israel during the December 2008 to January 2009 Gaza conflict. But a review of the organization's own media -- including the website of its military arm, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades (, and the Hamas-associated monthly journal Filastin al-Muslima ( recorded 147 Grad launches against cities and towns during the conflict, with the following distribution:

  • The "occupied" city of Ashkelon: 57
  • The "occupied" city of Ashdod: 41
  • The "occupied" city of Beersheba: 25
  • The "usurped" town of Netivot: 17
  • "Usurped Azata": 4
  • "Eshkol": 3

In addition, an estimated 400 Qassam-type rockets were fired at Israeli targets closer to Gaza, including "usurped" Sderot. On the same page on its website, Hamas claims to have fired a total of 213 Grads during the conflict; in other words, nearly 70 percent were aimed at civilian population centers (i.e., the 147 launches mentioned above). The highest number of Grad strikes claimed against a military target was 26 at the "Ofakim military base."

The Qassam Brigades considers its bombardment of large population centers deep within Israel as one of its major accomplishments of the war. Its website trumpets the breaking of the 40-kilometer range barrier and the shelling of Beersheba as major achievements (