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Friday, August 10, 2007

Islamic Jihad claims new 2-stage missile is 'strategic asset' vs Israeli targets

GAZA CITY The Iranian-sponsored Islamic Jihad has reported the development of an extended-range missile.

Jihad's military wing, Al Quds Brigades, said it has developed a two-stage missile with a range of up to 22 kilometers. The missile was identified as the Quds-4 and has been fired toward Israeli cities.

"We see this missile as a strategic asset," a Jihad operative involved in the project said.

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The Quds-4 was said to have a range of between 18 and 22 kilometers. Jihad said the missile was tested in April 2007 and fired into the northern section of the Israeli city of Ashkelon.

The new missile was said to measure 3.2 meters, with a diameter of 25 centimeters. Jihad said Quds-4, with a weight of 40 kilograms, contains an explosive warhead of between seven and nine kilograms. The warhead was said to be consist of TNT.

Jihad military spokesman Abu Ahmad said Quds-4 contains two stages. He said the first stage of the missile separates after 30 seconds of flight -- or nine kilometers -- leaving the remaining weapons component to continue toward its target.

"A two-stage rocket would frustrate any Israeli rocket defense system," the Jihad operative said.

Jihad has been the most active Palestinian group in the war against Israel. Jihad gunners in the Gaza Strip have been responsible for nearly daily missile strikes in the Jewish state.

Abu Ahmad said the development of Quds-4 was facilitated by unidentified foreign assistance. He said Jihad sent operatives abroad for training in rocket and missile development.

Jihad was also said to have developed indigenous capabilities. Sources said the insurgency group plans to use C4 explosives to increase the power of missile and rocket warheads.

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