The Iranian Badr 3 missile explodes within 20m of target and releases a 1,400-piece shower of shrapnel fragments. On Monday, April 6, hours into the Gaza ceasefire, Palestinian and Iranian sources released a video showcasing the new Iranian weapon targeting Ashkelon, 13 km north of Gaza. At least four of the new Iranian missiles were shown on May 4 and 5 during the 700-rocket blitz on the Israeli population from Saturday morning. The Badr 3 was said by Iranian sources to have been supplied, possibly with technology and components, to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hamas’ partner in the latest round of rocket attacks. While earlier versions of the rocket carried 40 kilos of explosives, the Badr 3 has an explosive warhead of 250 kilos.
The new weapon made its Middle East battlefield debut in Yamen in early April in the hands of the Iranian-backed Houthi insurgents. Jihad in Gaza was therefore the first terrorist organization to use it against Israel.
DEBKAfile’s military sources disclose that the Badr 3 has a range of 150km. Its greatest asset is that it explodes 20 meters above the target before landing, showering 1,400 pieces of shrapnel across a wide area. This feature greatly enhances its capacity to harm multiple human targets and wreak damage to buildings over a wide radius. Due to this capacity, many people in Ashkelon and Ashdod were injured after hearing the rocket alerts before they were able to reach safe shelter. Four people were killed and more than 250 Israelis were injured – many from flying shrapnel and many buildings took direct hits.
Both terrorist groups, Hamas and Jihad, bragged on Monday that they had found a way to beat Israel’s Iron Dome defense batteries by releasing concentrated barrages of scores of rockets in a single launch. Our sources report that in the latest round of rocket aggression from Gaza, Iron Dome scored 70 percent hits in the interception of incoming rockets, down from 80 percent in previous rounds. However, these figures are provisional estimates and deeper analysis is needed for true results.