Hamas Firing Long-range M-302 Rockets at Israel, Capable of 150-km Distance

Rockets smuggled into Gaza before Klos-C cache discovered are considered more accurate than makeshift projectiles made in the Strip; Hadera struck by M-302, dozens are estimated to exist in Gaza arsenal.

Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen
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An Iron Dome launcher firing an interceptor rocket on July 8, 2014.
An Iron Dome launcher firing an interceptor rocket on July 8, 2014.Credit: Ilan Assayag
Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen

Gaza militants have several dozen long-range M-302 rockets in their arsenal and have been using them in the current round of rocket fire, Israeli officials say.

One of the rockets, which the army's intelligence division says are considered more accurate than the makeshift rockets manufactured in Gaza and can be stored more easily because they are more durable, hit Hadera, a coastal city between Tel Aviv and Haifa, on Tuesday.

The M-302s were smuggled into Gaza late last year, before Israel seized the weapons-laden Klos-C four months ago. After inspecting the weapons aboard the ship, IDF officials said the rockets that had previously been smuggled in would threaten the Jerusalem area, Tel Aviv and part of the north, as well as offshore natural gas rigs.

"There is no local production of M-302 rockets, as far as I know," said Tal Inbar, who heads the Space Research Center at the Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies, an institution established by the Israel Air Force Association to promote public discussion about aviation and space issues. "This is a family of rockets with a long and variable range, and we encountered it for the first time in an operational capacity when Hezbollah fired them in 2006, at which point they were called Khaibars.

The Syrian-made M-302, whose range varies from 90 kilometers to at least 150 and is based on WS-2 Chinese rockets, which were fired at Israel by Hezbollah during the 2006 Second Lebanon War, under the name Khaibar-1. Hadera sustained a hit by one of these rockets in 2006 as well. Inbar said the rocket that hit Hadera this week is one of the longest-range M-302s, which can carry warheads of up to 145 kilograms.

A senior IDF officer told reporters that most of the rockets that have been fired at the center of the country are the makeshift Gaza-made ones, which can hit targets up to 80 kilometers from the Strip. Tel Aviv is 71 kilometers from Gaza. Palestinian militants in Gaza fired at least 165 rockets at Israel since Tuesday.

Brig. Gen. Itai Baron, who heads the research division of Military Intelligence, said a month ago that Hamas has hundreds of rockets with a range of up to 80 kilometers. Most of Hamas' long-range rockets are the ones they made themselves.

Hamas also has thousands of short-range rockets, some with a range of up to 40 kilometers and some with half that range.

Islamic Jihad also has rockets that can reach the center of the country.



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