debkafile Exclusive: Multiple-rocket launchers go into Palestinian service to maximize the lethality of missile offensive against Israel
Sunday, April 16, the Palestinians unveiled their new rocket-launcher in the Gaza Strip. It is capable of shooting 10 Grad (Quds-3) rockets simultaneously from a truck and is designed exclusively to hit Israeli civilian targets within a range of 18-30 km.
In Jerusalem, at the same time, six human rights groups sought a High Court injunction to mute the effectiveness of the IDF’s artillery bombardments against Palestinian missile sites for fear of endangering Palestinian civilians. These groups have never pursued court action against the daily Palestinian bombardments which single out Israeli civilian locations.
The new Palestinian weapon threatens not only the villages surrounding the Gaza Strip and Ashkelon, but also the towns of Ashdon, Netivot and Ofakim, as debkafile first reported on March 30. The new system was presented to Chairman Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, which is not too cash-strapped to finance the purchase.
debkafile‘s military sources reveal three Palestinians objectives in upgrading their missile weaponry:
1. To maximize Israel casualties and improve the missiles’ accuracy. Friday, April 4, a single Qassam missile just missed the Kibbutz Yad Mordecai sports hall causing some damage. A 10-rocket volley of 170kg of explosives would have achieved a vastly broader spread of death and damage than the primitive hit-or-miss Qassam missiles fired daily from the Gaza Strip.
2. To reach and devastate the sensitive Israel power, port, oil and pipeline facilities in Ashkelon
debkafile‘s sources add: The Palestinian missile crews do not need to hit the core of the big Ashkelon power station; the transformer plant would suffice to black out the entire country. Restoring the power supply to all parts of Israel would take several days.
3. The Palestinians decided that the energy a missile crew expends for evading Israel air force planes and drones to shoot a single missile might just as well be invested for launching 10 Grad rockets.
Last week, after Israeli artillery shelling failed to curb the Palestinians’ daily Qassam missile blitz from the Gaza Strip, defense minister Shaul Mofaz cut the safety range of Israeli artillery fire against missile sites from 300 to 100 meters distant rom Palestinian civilian houses. Sunday, April 16, six human rights groups asked the high court to restore the former safety margin so as not to endanger Palestinian lives.