Hamas rockets midday Thursday, May 13, ripped through Israel from the Greater Tel Aviv region to Beersheba in the south and including Ashdod, Lachish, Eylot in the Arava and the Bedouin settlements. . Iron Dome intercepted 10 over the Tel Aviv region. Hamas spokesman said: “We have a new upgraded rocket with a range of 220km and can reach any point in Israel.”
Have Hamas and Jihad got hold of more powerful rockets of longer range than before?
The answer, DEBKAfile’s military sources report, is in the affirmative. The Palestinian rulers of Gaza have begun using Fajr 5 (military codename M-75) (see attached photo) and Burkan (A-122), which reach deeper into Israel and pack a far more powerful punch.
For the first time, on Wednesday night, they shot a Fajr 5, an Iranian product with a long range and 333mm caliber which is mounted on a Mercedes Benz 2631 forward control chassis. This rocket weighs a ton, Its warhead is packed with 175kg of fragmentation warhead containing 90kg of high explosives. Hamas’ rocket engineers reduced its payload to extend the Fajr’s range to 170km – up to the shore of the Sea of Galilee in northeastern Israel –
The Palestinian terrorist organizations have not just escalated their rocket offensive, but they are now after big game, as was indicated on Tuesday when a rocket aimed at the Eilat-Ashkelon pipeline set a gas container at the Ashkelon end on fire. They have been trying to hit the offshore rig of Israel’s Tamar gas field. But they have not hit this target because, even after upgrading their rockets, they are not up to the high precision capacity installed by Iran in Hizballah’s missile arsenal. Iran’s Lebanese proxy now owns a quantity of Fajr 5C rockets fitted with wit GPS guidance kits.
Hamas leaders are hoping to obtain those ultra-lethal weapon systems soon.
Burkan, a locally developed version of an Iranian weapon, is more like a bomb than a rocket. These weapons have been responsible for the gaping holes driven in the walls of Israeli buildings, which took direct hits in the last two days in the towns of Sderot, Ashkelon, Petah Tikva, Ashdod, Ashkelon and Yahud.
The IDF’s air campaign has caused heavy damage to much of Hamas and Jihad weapons infrastructure. And the Iron Dome air defense system has knocked down 85-90pc of the rockets aimed at populated areas. However, much of that infrastructure is still operational and the Hamas/Jihad rocket arsenal remains out of reach of aerial bombardment.
IDF communiques leave the public ignorant about key elements of the Palestinian terrorists’ deadly rocket campaign against Israel. People are therefore bewildered over some of the gravest blows in the last 24 hours. IDF Spokesman Hdal Zilberman waxed eloquent earlier on Thursday about the tremendous damage the IDF is causing Hamas and Islamic Jihad senior officers, infrastructure and latterly government institutions and banks, but glossed over as misreported the rocket attack as far north as the Jezreel Valley, home to a big air base. This target is 164km from the Hamas rocket launchers in the Gaza Strip. Furthermore, the direct hits to civilians and property are proliferating as are the casualties: Seven deaths in two days and nearly a hundred injured.
The IDF’s longstanding public relations tactics which tells the public as little as it can get away with is bad for morale and outdated. The military can’t control communication by mobile phones or prevent the social media rumormongering. Better to be more forthcoming for a suffering, responsible population hungry for information.