Weapons: Iranian Mortars Pound Israel


June 25, 2008: Israel is moving anti-mortar radars to its border with Gaza, to fight the growing number of Iranian 120mm mortars Hamas is using. While the mortar is heavy (about 300 pounds), it can be broken down into components (barrel-94 pounds, base plate- 135 pounds, bipod-72 pounds, sight-four pounds). More accurate than the locally made Kassam rockets, and with more range (normally 6-7 kilometers, but up to 10 kilometers with special ammo), the shells weigh 35-40 pounds and have about the same destructive effect as 105mm howitzer shells.

Israel has anti-mortar radars that can quickly (within seconds) calculate the origin of an incoming mortar shell, electronically transmit that location to nearby artillery, and have fire on the mortar within a minute. But the Hamas mortar crews know that, and can fire 3-4 shells quickly, then toss mortar components in the back of an SUV or pickup truck, and roar off. The Israelis will probably respond to that with UAVs constantly flying over the likely mortar firing sites in northern Gaza, ready to detect the fleeing mortar crew vehicle, and try and get a missile on it. To get around this, Hamas has taken to using the mortars against some of the gates in the Israeli security fence. These gates are within range of residential areas, where Hamas welcomes Israeli shell fire, and the resulting dead civilians. Makes for great propaganda.

This game of cat and mouse has been going on in northern Gaza for eight years, and hundreds of Palestinian rocker launcher and mortar crewmen have been killed or wounded. But at the same time, nearly 10,000 rockers and mortar shells have been fired in that time.

Note that the Iranian 120mm mortar is based on an Israeli design. When it comes to weapons, Iran believes that, if you must steal, steal from the best.


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