In a Nov. 3 briefing to parliament, Yadlin said the rocket fired by
Hamas was determined to have a range of 60 kilometers. He told the Knesset
Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that the Hamas rocket was successfully
[On Nov. 3, the Israel Navy detained a merchant ship near Cyprus that
contained Iranian missiles and was believed headed for Syria. An Israeli
military statement said the ship, Francop, was registered in Antigua and
stopped in the Mediterranean Sea about 160 kilometers west of Israel. The
ship was then taken to Israel.
"After an initial inspection carried out by navy forces, the ship was
found to be carrying a variety of weapons disguised as civilian cargo," the
statement said on Nov. 4. "The seizure of the ship was carried out as part
of the navy's ongoing routine activity to maintain security and prevent arms
Few details of the new Hamas rocket, which could be fired from a
vehicle, were released by the Knesset committee. Later, an official said
Israel's military has yet to determine whether the extended-range rocket was
developed by Hamas or supplied by Iran or Syria.
But the official said Hamas was believed to have acquired or produced
dozens of the Iranian-origin extended-range rockets. He said the artillery
rocket, believed to be a variant of Iran's Fajr-3, measured five meters and
could contain a warhead of up to 45 kilograms.
Fajr-3, fired by Hizbullah during its war with Israel in 2006, was said
to have a range of 43 kilometers. But the official said Hamas could have
reduced the warhead by half in an effort to significantly extend the
"We know that Hamas is pursuing both procurement as well as indigenous
development and production," an official said. "In some cases, Hamas
receives two or three Iranian rockets and learns how to reverse-engineer
them for production in the Gaza Strip."
The Hamas rocket was said to be the longest-range weapon in the arsenal
of the Islamic regime in the Gaza Strip. During the war with Israel in
December 2008 and January 2009, Hamas fired Chinese-origin rockets into
Israel with ranges of up to 40 kilometers.
"The [Israeli] security leadership does not ask whether there will be an
additional military clash with Hamas in the Gaza Strip, but when," Israeli
military analyst Alex Fishman wrote in the Yediot Aharonot daily on Nov. 4.
Yadlin said the new rocket marked a Hamas effort to rearm in wake of the
23-day war with Israel. He said Hamas has replenished and enhanced its
missile and rocket arsenal, estimated at more than 3,000.
"Hamas engineers have been trained in Iran and Syria to work in the
rocket program," Yadlin was quoted as telling the Knesset committee.
In 2009, Israeli military intelligence monitored Hamas efforts to
smuggle Iranian-origin extended-range rockets. Officials said Hamas was
believed to have acquired Iran's Fajr-4 rocket, with a range of 70
"Syria has turned into the main factory and weapons cache for Hamas and
Hizbullah, as well as for Syria itself, with financial aid from Iran,"
[On Nov. 3, Palestinian gunners fired two missiles from the Gaza Strip
into Israel. There were no reports of injuries.]