First extended-range Palestinian missiles to hit Negev town of Netivot early Sunday identified as Russian-made Grad 20-km range surface missile

No one was hurt by the four-missile salvo, one of which exploded 90 meters from the town’s western houses. Also attacked Sunday were Sderot and a number of kibbutzim bordering on Gaza by four Qassam missiles and 12 mortar shells, which damaged a house in Kerem Shalom.
debkafile‘s military sources say that whereas until now, the Palestinian organizations their Israeli neighbors from Gaza with Qassam missiles whose maximum range is 10 km, Sunday, Oct. 7 they extended their radius by firing 20-km Grad missiles able to reach towns farther afield and more substantial than Sderot: Netivot (pop. 23,000), first but also Ofakim the center of Ashkelon and the southern fringes of the big port town of Ashdod.
Monday, the Ashkelon mayor said: Instead of fortifying cities against Palestinian missile attack from Gaza, let the Israeli military do its work.
Last week, Hamas tested Israel’s military reflexes by experimenting with extended-range missiles against Kibbutz Yad Mordecai, coupled with the influx of 85 freshly-trained Hamas commandos from Iran and Syria, whose entry to the Gaza Strip was approved by Egypt. After Israel failed to respond, Hamas saw its way clear to further escalating its missile offensive against southwestern Israel.
In mid-2006, debkafile began reporting that the Grad medium-range surface missile had been introduced to the Gaza Strip, purchased by Iranian agents in Serbia and Bosnia for smuggling in via the Suez Canal and Sinai. Israel made no effort to put a stop to the traffic beyond pleas to Cairo from Jerusalem and Washington which fell on deaf ears.

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