Expansion of Hamas rocket range in Southern Western Negev
In the fall of 2005, Israeli
forces left the Gaza strip. By international agreement the Rafah border crossing
was to be monitored by EU observers, to prevent the smuggling of arms. The
Hamas, a militant, genocidal terrorist group,
took over the Gaza strip after winning elections. A unity government between the
Hamas and Fatah factions came to an end after the
Hamas staged a coup and
murdered the Fatah.
Hamas has announced repeatedly that they will never
make peace with Israel. They insist that all of Palestine is a
holy Waqf given
to the Muslims by Allah. Their charter declares that negotiations and
international conferences are a waste of time.
Jihad (Holy War) is the only war.
Their mission, as they declare, is to kill all the Jews, because the end of days
cannot come before every Jew is slain.
Hamas and other groups began raining
Qassam Rockets down on Israeli towns
even before Israel left the Gaza strip. As soon as Israel left, the stream of
rocket fire increased. They were
small home made Qassam rockets with a range of a few kilometers, that could
reach the town of
Sderot. Life became hell in
Sderot. No self defense measures
Israel took were effective. In June of 2006,
Hamas kidnapped an Israeli soldier,
Gilad Schalit, from inside Israel, in a planned terror operation. Rocket fire on
Israel increased after the Hamas coup and became intolerable.
When Israel tried to cut supplies to Gaza,
international pressure forced it to resume supplies. In June of 2008, Israel
concluded a truce agreement with the
Hamas, mediated by Egypt, under pressure from the UN
and Western powers.
Hamas used the truce to smuggle quantities of arms into the
Gaza strip. When they took power by force, they dismissed UN monitors from the
southern border crossings and insisted that they must be able to bring in
anything they wish from Egypt. Egypt sealed the border, but the Hamas dug
tunnels that they used for smuggling everything from cigarettes to refrigerators
to mortars, explosives and rockets.
In December of 2008, Hamas declared unilaterally that the truce
would not be renewed unless Israel agreed to let them import whatever they
wished. In a single day, December 24, Hamas rained dozens of rockets on Israeli
towns. Israel launched operation Cast Lead (Oferet Yetzuka) to stop the
rocket fire. The increase in range of the renewed Hamas rocket fire
demonstrated how they had taken advantage of
the truce to import arms, while all the while managing an international
propaganda campaign about a supposed humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
Prior to the truce, in June of 2008, the Hamas rockets were
homemade Qassams with a range of perhaps 10-12 kilometers. Their approximate
range is shown by the green curve in the map below. Following the
resumption of rocket fire,
Hamas rockets reached about 45 kilometers into
Israel, hitting as far north as Yavne and as far west as Beersheba. The range is
demarcated by the black curve in the map below. It includes major cities such as
Beersheba and Ashdod. If they are not stopped now, in a few months,
Hamas rockets will probably reach Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
Media often remind readers that Hamas rockets "do mostly property damage" and do
not kill people. The "little" home made Qassam rockets could and did kill people
who were unlucky enough not to take shelter in time. But the Grad rockets that
Hamas has at the end of December 2008 are far more lethal. These are military
ordinance designed to kill people - meant to be fired at soldiers on a
battlefield. Hamas are firing them at random into large civilian towns and even
cities. Sophisticated warning systems and extensive shelter facilities have
prevented major casualties, but there have been fatalities. On December 29
rocket and mortar fire killed two Israelis in Ashkqelon and a third was killed
by mortar fire in the Western Negev.
Qassam Rocket Technical Data Summary and History
Qassam Rocket Statistics - 2006
Qassam Rocket Statistics Summary to January 2008
Qassam Rocket Statistics and Background to January 2008
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