Rocket and other indirect fire attacks from the Gaza Strip on Israeli territory are down 90% this year compared with 2008 levels, the Israeli military says in arguing that Operation Cast Lead – the December 2008/January 2009 military operation in the Gaza Strip – led to concrete results.
Through December 16, the Israel Defense Forces say 149 rockets, 95 mortar shells and four Grad rockets were fired at Israel this year. The numbers do not include the launches during the 22 days of Operation Cast Lead, so the real number is higher.
Still, the IDF says the total is far below the 3,278 impacts Israel saw from the Gaza Strip in 2008, of which 1,553 represented of various types rockets, 1,685 were mortar shots, and 40 were specifically Grad rockets.
The IDF says that the number of launches has been low throughout the year, but has been slightly on the rise since reaching a bottom around mid-year. The monthly breakdown since the cessation of IDF activities in January are as follows: February: 88 launches; March: 76; April: 8; May: 18; June: 3; July: 3; August: 7; September: 17; October: 9; November: 13. One reason it will be interesting to further track the level of activity is because next year should have seen the Iron Dome system designed to counter these projectiles become operational. However, development problems have pushed the fielding date to 2011. So the coming months will show just how costly the delay is.