It has now come to light that not only did Palestinian Islamic Jihad kill more civilians in Gaza with rockets that misfired than did the IDF, but that it managed to kill several Hamas terrorists as well. A report on the Great Misfiring is here: “Islamic Jihad accidentally killed a Hamas terrorist with a misfired rocket,” by Michael Starr, Jerusalem Post, August 15, 2022:
During Operation Breaking Dawn, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad accidentally killed a Hamas terrorist [actually, two Hamas terrorists] with their own misfired rocket that was aimed toward Israel.
A Hamas terrorist [two terrorists] was accidentally killed by a misfired Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket during Operation Breaking Dawn, according to information released by Hamas and Palestinian media during the conflict, together with corroborating statements made on Sunday by the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit.
The PIJ has, of course, said nothing, refusing to recognize its misfirings and certainly unwilling to admit that it killed fellow terrorists from Hamas. The PIJ is already furious with Hamas for having failed to help it during the IDF’s assault in Operation Breaking Dawn, and as a consequence, Hamas is enraged with the PIJ, for having tried to drag Hamas into a war with Israel that it did not want and was unwilling to fight.
On August 7, the last day of the three-day battle, Palestinian and Israeli media reported that an explosive had struck a house in the central Gaza town of Bureij. Three boys, 13-year-old twins and a 9-year-old, were killed in the explosion, and their father was injured, Shehab News initially reported that evening….
The incident in Bureij was the result of the failed launching of a rocket by Islamic Jihad against Israel, Maariv and Ynet reported on August 7 according to a preliminary IDF inquiry. AP last Monday also described the incident as “suspicious,” listing it with other possible Islamic Jihad rocket accidents.
On Sunday evening, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit confirmed to The Jerusalem Post that a misfired rocket was responsible for the Bureij incident.
There were no other incidents the military is aware of that occurred in Bureij on that day, and Hamas was not targeted there [by the IDF].
Another Hamas operative died during the operation under suspicious circumstances. About three hours prior to the Bureij explosion, Ahmed Muhammad Afana was killed in Jabaliya. Like Nabahin, the al-Qassam Brigades announced his death, describing him as one of their soldiers. The militant branch also published pictures of Afana in military fatigues, armed with a scoped M4 carbine.
The IDF was not immediately able to confirm that either Israeli forces or Islamic Jihad were responsible for Afana’s death.
But we know two things for certain: that the IDF went out of its way to avoid hitting any members of Hamas during Operation Breaking Dawn, and that at least 200 PIJ rockets misfired and landed in Gaza, including many that killed civilians in the Jabaliya camp. It seems reasonable to conclude that the PIJ, and not the IDF, was responsible for Afana’s death.
The town where Afana was killed was the site of other notable Islamic Jihad rocket failures.
The first incident [in the Jabaliya neighborhood] on August 6, killed at least nine people, including four children. The IDF published footage of the incident, and Israeli officials at every level have affirmed that Islamic Jihad was to blame.…
Gazan terrorist organizations led by the terror group launched around 1,100 rockets during Operation Breaking Dawn, the IDF has claimed. Almost 200 of these rockets fell within the Gaza strip – almost a fifth of those launched at the Jewish state.”
Hamas and PIJ are rivals for popular support among the Palestinians both in Gaza and in the West Bank. Hamas, as the ruler of Gaza, has to be more cautious in its approach to Israel. It has to keep the Strip in working order. It well remembers the devastation wrought by the IDF in May 2021, and has no desire to repeat that experience. It refused to be drawn into the conflict between the IDF and the PIJ between August 5 and 7, secure in the knowledge semaphored by the Israelis that Hamas’ own men and materiel would be left untouched as long as the group did not join in the fray. Israel then proceeded to decapitate the entire top military echelon of the PIJ.
The PIJ is furious with Hamas. It has felt betrayed by Hamas’ decision to keep out of the conflict, and Hamas, in turn, has criticized the PIJ for trying to drag it into a war that Hamas was unwilling to fight. Hamas wants Gaza to be quiet, so that Israel will continue both to allow some 15,000 Gazan residents to work in Israel and to continue to supply the Strip with electricity and water and other needed supplies. These are the sort of things Hamas has to worry about – the responsibilities of the ruler. PIJ has no such worries; it is purely a military organization and can afford to be heedless and hotheaded.
Now Hamas has another reason to be furious with PIJ. The PIJ rockets that went astray killed at least two members of Hamas’ Al-Qassam Brigades. PIJ still refuses to recognize its responsibility, much less apologize for the killing, or offer any compensation to the families of the Hamas members killed. This has not gone over well with Hamas. The depth of their mutual distrust has deepened, one more welcome result of the spectacularly successful Operation Breaking Dawn.