|Rockets being near civilian buildings (Oct. 24 2012 Amir Cohen/Reuters)|
Firing rockets from populated civilian areas is a common tactic by Hamas and other Palestinian groups. It allows them the protection from retaliation typically afforded only to civilians during war. If Israel does try to retaliate, the likelihood of civilian casualties is much higher which also gives Hamas a huge boost in the PR department against Israel.
This tactic is completely illegal under international law and puts civilians at risk when Israel strikes back at the targets shooting the rockets. This is one of the huge difficulties Israel has to face when trying to minimize civilian deaths while Hamas and other Palestinian groups do all they can to maximize it. This is part of the reason Israel warns nearby residents of impending attacks by dropping leaflets, calling, and texting them. While Israel does to reduce the change of civilians getting killed, Hamas on TV specifically encourages them to avoid these warnings.
Journalists inside the Gaza Strip reporting on rockets being fired from civilian area:
Israeli channel two news: 'Rocket launching strip near me is next to some residential buildings'
CNN: "These rockets coming from very close to us in the middle of the city out to Israel"
Tweet from journalist CNN journalist Sara Sidner on twitter: "Four Rockets all at once just whizzed over our heads from Gaza pointed toward Israel. VERY LOUD. VERY CLOSE TO US"
Tweet from Anderson Cooper on twitter: "4 rockets just fired from near media center in
Video evidence of rockets being fired from civilian areas:
This video was released by Hamas. Shows rockets being fired from or nearby a house.
This video is from the 2009 Gaza war. An Alarabiya reporter realizes that rockets have been launched from right underneath the building she is reporting in.
|Rocket being fired near apartment buildings (Jan. 2, 2009. AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)|
|A rocket is seen after its launch from the northern Gaza Strip heading towards Israel. (Amir Cohen/Reuters 2012)|
|A rocket launched by Palestinians militants towards
Israel makes its way from the northern Gaza Strip, seen from the
Israel-Gaza Border, southern Israel, November 15, 2012. |
|Smoke trails behind a rocket launched from the northern Gaza Strip, on November 15, 2012. |
|Rockets being fired by militants from between apartment complexes. Think of how many people are endangered. (November 17, 2012 Reuters/Majdi Fathi )|