May 3, 2023 | Flash Brief

Islamic Jihad Attacks Israel from Gaza with Hamas’ Assent

May 3, 2023 | Flash Brief

Islamic Jihad Attacks Israel from Gaza with Hamas’ Assent

Latest Developments

Palestinian terrorists launched more than 100 rockets and mortar bombs at Israel from the Gaza Strip on May 2 and early May 3 with the assent of the territory’s ruling Hamas faction. The salvoes — mostly fired by the terrorist group Islamic Jihad — focused on the Israeli border town of Sderot but reached as far as the port city of Ashkelon, sending residents to shelters and seriously wounding a construction worker who was caught out in the open. The Palestinian launches ceased at daybreak on May 3 as part of a deal brokered by Egypt, Qatar, and the United Nations.

Expert Analysis

“Hamas is still loathe to provoke a full-on conflict with Israel. But its public closing of ranks with Islamic Jihad suggests that deterrence is eroding. This should be of no surprise, given that both terrorist groups are Iranian proxies and Tehran has been stepping up its efforts to foment multi-front assaults on Israel.” — Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“Following another exchange of fire, the IDF released an impressive list of Hamas and Islamic Jihad military targets hit in Gaza, demonstrating that this round was a tactical win for Israel. Despite the tactical victory, the citizens of Israel’s south have once again had their lives upended, Israel has failed to reestablish deterrence, and the mullahs in Tehran will surely tout this exchange as a win for the regime. For now, Israel seems content to pull its punches and allow Iran-backed terrorists in Gaza to define the rules of the game in exchange for relative quiet.” Enia Krivine, Senior Director of FDD’s Israel Program and National Security Network

Israel’s Iron Dome Intercepts Rockets

Israel’s Iron Dome interceptors shot down two dozen rockets that were on course to strike residential areas, while the Israeli air force struck 16 Hamas and Islamic Jihad targets in Gaza. Around 50 rockets fell harmlessly in uninhabited areas or in the Mediterranean Sea, and two misfired, striking a Gaza home and wounding five Palestinian civilians.

Rocket Fire Follows Death of Islamic Jihad Leader

The reignition of the Gaza front followed the death in Israeli custody of Khader Adnan, an Islamic Jihad leader who had been on hunger strike and refusing medical care, as he awaited trial. Hamas, which sat out the fighting between Israel and Islamic Jihad during Operation Breaking Dawn last August, signaled greater involvement this time around by signing on to a joint communique claiming the salvoes as revenge for Adnan’s death. Hamas also attempted to shoot at Israeli aircraft, Israeli officials said.

Related Analysis

Hamas, Islamic Jihad Fire Rockets at Israel,” FDD Flash Brief

Pray for Peace This Ramadan,” by Jonathan Schanzer

Why the West Bank is in chaos,” by Jonathan Schanzer and Joe Truzman

Iran-Backed West Bank Chaos,” by Joe Truzman


Israel Jihadism Palestinian Politics