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Has Israel’s defense minister given up on toppling Hamas?

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman seems to have realized that attacking Hamas targets in retaliation for rocket fire from rogue groups could damage the organization’s efforts to contain those elements.
Smoke rises following an Israeli air strike on the Gaza Strip hours after a rocket launched from the Palestinian enclave hit the Israeli border town of Sderot, as seen from the Israeli side of the border with Gaza October 5, 2016. REUTERS/Amir Cohen - RTSQVVG

A Qassam rocket fell in the southern Israeli city of Sderot on Oct. 5, just meters from the home of Mayor Alon Davidi. Luckily there was no significant damage and no one was badly hurt, though two victims were treated for shock. The Iron Dome missile defense battery did not launch a missile to intercept the rocket, perhaps because of the short range of the Qassams.

On that same night, the Israel Defense Forces carried out a massive series of aerial attacks, most against specific Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip. The next afternoon, another Qassam rocket was fired from Gaza and landed in open Israeli territory with no human casualties. The tons of explosives fired on Gaza by the Israeli air force over the night between the two rocket attacks had no deterrence effect. Echoes of the IDF assault's explosions rang through the length and breadth of Gaza. Yet in a gesture of defiance, the round ended with that last rocket.

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