Hamas Obtains Heavy Rockets to Wreak Havoc on Israeli Gaza Border Towns

The militant group is in possession of dozens of such short-range rockets as it steps up arms production in preparation of a future conflict with Israel.

Masked Palestinian militants from Islamic Jihad place homemade rockets before firing them into Israel on the outskirts of Gaza City, 2008.
Masked Palestinian militants from Islamic Jihad place homemade rockets before firing them into Israel on the outskirts of Gaza City, 2008. AP

Hamas has dozens of short-range heavy rockets it has recently developed, which the group intends to use against communities bordering with the Gaza Strip in a future conflict with Israel.

The rockets, which were first reported on Army Radio, weigh dozens and even hundreds of kilograms each, and have a range of up to 10 kilometers. The range and the weight of the rockets suggest they are designed to maximize damage to Israeli towns bordering with the Strip. The Hamas rockets are similar to the short-range Borkan rocket in Hezbollah’s possession, which weighs between 100 and 500 kilograms.

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Officials in the defense establishment said recently that Hamas is making “a great effort” to restore its military capabilities following the heavy blow the group sustained during the 2014 Gaza war with Israel. The militant group is digging cross-border tunnels and is restocking its rocket supply while also acquiring better production methods.                                 

Israeli army chief of staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot said recently that Hamas is receiving tens of millions of dollars in Iranian funds. “We are seeing frequent experimenting in Gaza – [rocket] launches into the sea,” on almost a weekly basis, a high-ranking Israel Air Force commander said last week. “The production [of rockets] in Gaza is on a very large scale, more than in the past, because of the blockade and closed Egyptian border.

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The Israel Defense Forces is also monitoring the development of drones in Gaza. In some cases, these are small, cheap drones one could purchase at a toy store. But in other cases, these are more advanced aircraft, that the army expect would carry explosives and cameras in a future conflict and be used as suicide drones.

“We see a lot of such aircraft flying, some of them of local production and some are a mix of different designs,” the air force officer said, noting two drones Israel has recently shot down. “We would not let anything breach the borders of the Gaza Strip, and the Air Force showed this in the recent intercepts,” he said.