Hamas has acquired dozens of heavy, short-range rockets, intended for attacking Israeli civilian communities near the Gaza border, Israel Hayom reported Wednesday. Despite their short range – a mere six miles – their massive load of explosives would enable these rockets to inflict significant damage on their targets come the next confrontation with Israel.
The new weapons have been developed based on the Hamas lessons from the 2014 Gaza war, when the bulk of their mid-range rockets were blocked by the Iron Dome system over larger civilian centers, but the same system was useless against their short-range mortar shells, one of which killed a three-year-old Israeli toddler on the last day of the war.
The IDF and defense apparatus are aware of this new strategy and are preparing to evacuate the civilian population in the communities alongside the Gaza Strip border – should the government give the word.
On Tuesday, Hamas published a poster with the picture of Khaled Mashaal, head of the Hamas political bureau in Damascus, with the slogan: “Challenge Accepted,” in Arabic, English and Hebrew. Mashaal and other Hamas leaders have been vowing revenge against Israel using similar terms this week.
Israeli social media have been warning against such an attack to take place over Passover. Tamir Idan, head of Sdot Negev Regional Council, has told Radio 105 FM that if such a threat is indeed real, this is very serious, adding that he is in constant contact with the IDF over these threats.
According to Israel Hayom, Hezbollah has acquired similar weapons and is in possession of short range Burkan rockets that carry a load of between 200 and 1,100 pounds. Hamas, meanwhile, is working on more accurate rockets with longer ranges.