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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Hamas made rockets using RDX explosives, washing machine timers

GAZA CITY — Hamas has been using a powerful explosive for the production of its Kassam-class, short-range missile.   

Palestinian sources said the Hamas regime has been employing RDX for the warhead of the Kassam missile. The sources said RDX, also known as cyclotrimethylenetrinitramine or T4, was smuggled from Egypt and has enhanced the blast of the Kassam, with a range of up to 20 kilometers. RDX has been deemed one of the most powerful of military high explosives.

"It is a very powerful explosive," Abu Dejana, a leading Palestinian missile producer, said. "We use it for missile warheads and for explosive devices."

Abu Dejana said Hamas has been producing advanced Kassam-class missiles with a range of up to 20 kilometers. He said these missiles were fired toward the Israeli city of Ashkelon during the war with Israel in January 2009.

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The sources said Hamas has also combined RDX with TNT for the Kassam warhead. They said the TNT comes in granite-like sections that are ground and compressed for the missile.

In a demonstration for the Saudi-owned Al Arabiya satellite channel on Feb. 12, Abu Dejana, who said he has produced up to 500 missiles over the last few years, employed sugar and potassium nitrate to increase the blast of the warhead. He said Hamas then added shrapnel to intensify the lethality of the missile.

"We use pins, nails and pieces of metal, which increase the blast," Abu Dejana said.

Abu Dejana said Kassam's propellant consists of glucose, sugar and nitrate. He said the substances are mixed and then melted before being placed into the engine.

Palestinian sources said Hamas has also installed timers on its missiles. They said the timers, which could be taken from washing machines and other appliances, allow Hamas squads to flee before a Kassam launch and escape Israeli air retaliation.

"In the past, the holy warriors would set the missile and launch it, and then they would be targeted by the Zionist enemy," Abu Abdullah, Abu Dejana's deputy, said. "So we began to use timers. After the missile is placed on the ground, the timer is set, the holy warrior retreats, and the missile is launched five or 10 minutes later."

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