Procurement: Israel Supplies Rocket Components to Palestinians


March 8, 2007: Palestinian terrorists have been firing homemade "Kassam" rockets into Israel since 2001. Israeli police recently arrested a Palestinian scrap metal dealer who was finding pipes, in Israel, suitable for rockets, and delivering them to workshops where the Kassams are built in Gaza. Now the Palestinians will have to get their pipes from Egypt, and Israel will be condemned for crippling the scrap metal sector of the Palestinian economy.

The Hamas Palestinian terrorist organization designed the first Kassam in late 2001. This was the Kassam I, and is a 60mm weapon, about 31 inches long, weighing twelve pounds and carrying a one pound explosive charge. Its range is about three kilometers, and it is unguided. You aimed it and hoped for the best. In early 2002, Hamas began firing these at Jewish settlements in Gaza, and into southern Israel as well. By 2003, larger versions were built. There was the Kassam II, which weighed 70 pounds, is 150mm in diameter and six feet long. It has a range of eight kilometers, and a 11-15 pound warhead. It wasn't until June, 2004, that one of these Kassam rockets actually killed an Israeli. By then, about 200 Kassams had been fired into southern Israel.

Later came the Kassam III, which is 6.7 feet long, 170mm in diameter, has a range of about ten kilometers, and a warhead of 22-44 pounds. This one weighs about 200 pounds. There are many variations in these designs, and larger rockets have apparently been used as well.

By the end of 2005, over 400 Kassams had been fired at Israeli targets. About a third of them were the short range Kassam Is, fired at Israeli settlements in Gaza. The rest were larger Kassams fired into southern Israel. To date, over a 800 Kassams have been fired. For every 30-40 Kassams fired, an Israeli is killed or wounded. For every 2-3 Kassams fired, a Palestinian is killed or wounded by Israeli military operations against the firing sites and workshops that build the rockets.

Iranian technical experts, and Iranian made rocket components are now showing up. These are being smuggled in via tunnels crossing under the border with Egypt. It is believed that Hamas wants Iranian assistance in building rockets that can reach more densely populated areas of Israel. This would take a rocket with a range of 20 kilometers or more. The Palestinians have tried to smuggle in factory made rockets, but these are too large to easily get through the tunnels. So the best option appears to build better Kassams.




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