Fox News is reporting, based on an interview with Jonathan Schanzer, that Israel avoided its own Cuban missile crisis by destroying Hamas’ Fajr-5 rockets in Operation Pillar of Defense (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).
Rocket attacks from Gaza were commonplace in Israel prior to the campaign, dubbed “Operation Pillar of Defense,” with at least 750 projectiles falling on the area close to the border since January. The attacks were ratcheted up in early November, which seemed to prompt Israel’s move and the deployment of its vaunted “Iron Dome” defense system. But behind the scenes, the Israel Defense Force (IDF) had a more pressing need to launch their intense bombardment on Hamas’ weapons stores.
Israel’s elimination of senior Hamas figure Ahmad Jabari as he drove in broad daylight in Gaza also fits into Schanzer’s narrative.
“Ahmad Jabari, along with another major Hamas figure, Mahmoud al Mabhouhk, [who was assassinated in Dubai in 2010], was a key part of the procurement network for the Fajr missiles and there is little doubt that Israel was keen to take out the man responsible,” Schanzer explained.
Schanzer contends that the operation actually began three weeks earlier, when, on Oct. 23, the Iranian-owned Yarmouk armaments factory in Sudan – believed to be the assembly plant for the Fajr5 missiles that have a range of up to 45 miles – was devastated by air strikes for which the Sudanese government holds Israel responsible. Israel, and for that matter the U.S., both deny any knowledge of the attack.