Following a support visit to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip by Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Kandil, Palestinian terrorists fired a rocket at the Israeli capital of Jerusalem on Friday, sending residents running for bomb shelters. The rocket landed outside the city, which is Israel’s capital and largest city, and which is holy to Jews, Christians, and Muslims.
The attack marks a significant escalation in the fighting surrounding Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense, and analysts are likely to link Hamas’s willingness to risk widening violence to backing it receives from Egypt and other regional actors. Egypt’s support for Hamas has put it at odds with the United States. Meanwhile Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh led a Gaza crowd in chants of “Long Live Egypt” today.
Hamas used social media to brag that the missile with which the group targeted Jerusalem, the so-called M75, was an named after a Hamas leader assassinated by Israel in 2003, and that the 75 represents the missiles 75km-80km range. One of Israel’s primary goals in Operation Pillar of Defense is to degrade Hamas’s arsenal of advanced weaponry, which the terror group had been using more and more often in the weeks leading up to the operation.