Photo Credit: Majdi Fathi/TPS
Palestinian Islamic Jihad fires rockets at Israel. August 2022

Gaza’s Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terrorists have been firing rockets at Israeli citizens since the IDF launched its Operation Breaking Dawn against the terror group Friday afternoon.

But are they really rockets, or missiles? And what are Israel Air Force combat pilots firing at terrorist targets in the enclave?


Here’s a quick primer to help you learn the difference.

Missiles have an engine and a guidance system to make sure the projectile scores an accurate hit.

Rockets have an engine to drive the projectile, but no guidance system, so wherever it lands, it lands. (“I shot an arrow in the air, where it fell I know not where.” Remember that child’s rhyme?)

Smart bombs have no engine but there is a guidance system to ensure an accurate, surgical strike.

Standard bombs have no engine and no guidance system.

PIJ terrorists are firing rockets, not missiles – at least, so far — which accounts for their largely wildly inaccurate aim.

The Israel Air Force uses smart bombs almost exclusively, rather than missiles or standard (read: mindless) bombs, which accounts for high accuracy of their surgical air strikes.


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.