PRC: Our new rocket can reach as far as Ashdod
PMO: Claims on Nasser-4 in violation of Gaza truce; militants say training for 'imminent' IDF operation.
The Gaza-based Popular Resistance Committees has unveiled what it calls a new missile capable of reaching the nothern Negev cities of Ashdod and Ashkelon, according to media reports released this week.
The Nasser-4 missile, which the PRC displayed last week to journalists in a public relations move, is apparently an upgraded version of the existing Nasser-3.
The group said the improved rocket can travel up to 26 kilometers, double the range of the previous version.
The group showed the rocket to journalists from CNN and other agencies, whom they blindfolded before the display to keep their location mum.
Militants also showed off a training ground where they said preparations were in the works ahead of what they termed Israel's imminent incursion into Gaza.
"We have been under siege for the last two years," militant Ibrahim Dahman told CNN. "The only thing left is for them to invade and kill us."
According to CNN, the group gave journalists a tour of its rocket factory and training grounds in a PR maneuver to give Israel a peek at is apparent strengthening.
The prime minister's spokeman, Mark Regev, told reporters that if the Nasser-4 was in fact an upgraded rocket, it would stand in "clear violation of the fragile 2-month old truce with Gaza militants.
"The cease-fire that was negotiated through Egypt was very specific that the Hamas movement and the other terrorist groups can't use it as a period to import more weapons, more explosives, more rockets into the Gaza Strip," Regev said, adding that Israel has "the right to act, if need be, to protect ourselves. We don't want this current quiet just to be the quiet before the storm."
The PRC is one of three Gaza-based factions that claimed responsibility for the abduction of Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit in 2006.
Last week, the group warned Israel that the truce between Hamas and Israel in Gaza could end this month if no progress was made on reopening border crossings and releasing prisoners.
The truce - in effect since June 19 - calls on militants to halt rocket attacks in return for Israel gradually easing an embargo on the territory. The truce has largely held and rocket attacks from Gaza have declined.