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2009: Quietest year in the past decade for the area around the Gaza Strip, according to IDF

After 22 days of joint operations between the Israeli Air Force, the Israel Navy and the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) Ground Forces, which significantly weakened the Hamas terror infrastructure in the Gaza Strip, the State of Israel ended the operation. The weakening of the terror infrastructure and the missile launchers led to the quietest year in the past decade for the area around the Gaza Strip, according to IDF. 

Eight years of continuous missile and rocket fire from the Gaza Strip onto Israeli towns neighboring the Gaza Strip, finally made the Israeli government decide to initiate Operation Cast Lead. The defined objective: to decrease the number of rockets and missiles fired onto Israeli territory from the Gaza Strip.

The main objective of the operation – reducing the number of missiles and rockets fired onto Israeli territory – has been achieved.

Throughout 2008, 1,553 rockets (most of them Qassam rockets), 1,685 mortar shells and 40 Grad rockets – altogether 3,278 - were fired from the Gaza Strip onto Israeli territory.

In 2009, on the other hand, only 149 rockets, 95 mortar shells and 4 Grad rockets were fired at Israel. Altogether: 248 impacts (those numbers do not include the firings during Operation Cast Lead, and were last updated on December 16th). The number of rockets and missiles fired has decreased by more than 90% compared to that of the previous year.

The number of missiles and rockets fired also decreased month after month, but has slightly increased again in the past few months: In February, immediately after Operation Cast Lead, 88 rockets and missiles were launched; in March – 76; in April – 8; in May – 18; in June – 3; in July – 3; in August – 7; in September – 17; in October – 9; in November – 13.

The Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, has recently spoken several times about the quiet in the South and the possibility that it might end. During a visit to the Gaza Division he said: “We do not have delusions. We are realistic and we understand that the situation can change, and therefore we are prepared. We understand that we may be tested at any day and at any hour, and I am convinced that we will succeed."

During that same visit, the GOC of the Southern Command, Maj. Gen. Yoav Galant, commented on the fact that 2009 has been the quietest year in the last decade: "A year has passed since Operation Cast Lead and the results and achievements are noticeable in the field, especially to the residents of that region. This is the quietest year I can remember in the past decade or more, and a quiet like that immediately affects the public." He also emphasized that "the soldiers here know that we must prepare to continue and that if we are forced to do so, we will have to fight and attain more achievements".

Since the end of Operation Cast Lead the amount of humanitarian aid for the Gazan population provided by Israel has increased by 30% compared to the numbers of the previous years. The IDF magazine "Bamahane" reports that during 2009, approximately 100 trucks with humanitarian aid goods were transferred from Israel to the Gaza Strip daily.

The transfer of humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip is coordinated by the Gaza District Coordination Office (DCO). "The DCO constantly works on efforts to provide as much humanitarian aid as necessary for the Gaza Strip," says the DCO Operations Officer.
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