debkafile Exclusive: Palestinians are manufacturing new multiple-rocket launchers with Palestinian Authority funding
The broad program involving all the armed Palestinian organizations is close to producing a facsimile of the Russian-made Grad, renamed Quds-3, supplied by Iran, which can simultaneously fire 10 rockets from a truck to a distance of 18-30 km. The system weighs 13 tons and enables a crew of 7-10 Palestinians firing from the Gaza Strip to hit not only the Israeli port of Ashkelon, but Ashdod to the north too, as well as the towns of Netivot and Ofakim to the east.
The system was proudly displayed to Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas when he visited the Gaza Strip last week.
debkafile‘s military sources: The new 122mm rocket, test-fired against Ashkelon on Israel’s election-day, Tuesday, March 28, weighs 66 kilos and carries 17 kilos of explosives. It was developed in Palestinian workshops in the Gaza Strip on instructions from Iranian instructors using the Russian-Made Grad and BM21 Katyusha as their model. Several dozen rockets are already in stock, substantially upgrading the Palestinian war arsenal with a heavy artillery system and extending its long-range assault capability. The product currently produce is wire-operated. The crew pulls back some 60 meters from the launcher and releases the rockets by pulling the wire.
A ten-rocket volley has a far better chance of hitting an Israeli target than the hit-or-miss, primitive Qassam missiles fired daily from the Gaza Strip.
Our military experts point out that, as the Americans discovered in Iraq, sophisticated weaponry, including drones and electronic surveillance, offers no solution to countering roadside bombs and rockets fired on the ground. The Palestinians have concluded that, even if the Israeli air force knocks out some of their Quds-3 rocket systems, they will still be left with enough launchers to cause heavy Israeli casualties and damage in the towns within range of Gaza.