School-zone sign in northern Israel shows evidence of lethal metal balls from Hezbollah rockets (photo: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

Steel balls and other lethal fragments were encased in rockets from Syria and Iran that were used by Hezbollah on Israeli civilian areas during the recent war, the Israeli Ministry of Defense confirmed to WND today.

Photographs of the anti-personnel “flying metal” damage done by Syrian-made 220-mm rockets fired by Hezbollah were published today in Israel by Uzi Rubin of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. Rubin served as the head of Israel’s Missile Defense Organization from 1991 to 1999, when he oversaw development of the country’s Arrow anti-missile defense system.

The published report documented the Hezbollah rockets and rocket launchers as “one of the defining weapons of the second Lebanon war,” predicting their impact in the Middle East “will encourage radical movements to adopt rocket attacks against U.S. and Western forces and assets.”

The report documented 4,228 rocket impacts inside Israel from rockets fired by Hezbollah from July 13 to Aug. 13. Israel suffered 53 fatalities from the attacks, along with 250 severely wounded people and 2,000 lightly wounded.

Lethal metal balls from Hezbollah rocket embedded in guard rail in northern Israel (photo: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

Nearly 80 percent of the Israeli fatalities involved civilians caught in the open.

Rubin concluded the public shelters and the security rooms dictated by building codes in private dwellings were effective in protecting the 1 million civilians living in the northern Israel areas under attack. Some 250,000 Israeli civilians evacuated the north, relocating to other areas of the country.

Among the Syrian-provided rockets used were:

  • Grad-type 122 mm Katyusha, range 18.6 miles, warhead 66 pounds.

  • Improved Grad 122 mm Katyusha, range 31 miles

  • 220 mm rocket, range range 43.5 miles, probably Syrian-manufactured Russian “Ouragan” Multiple Launch Rocket System

  • “B302” 302 mm rocket, range 62 miles, warhead 386 pounds, probably Syrian-manufactured Chinese WS-1 MLRS

The photographs of Syrian and Iranian rockets fired by Hezbollah provided documentation of worldwide speculation during the war that Syria and Iran both had been involved in arming Hezbollah.

Syrian rocket recovered after attack on northern Israel (photo: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

Israel also identified debris from Iranian-made240 mm Fajr-3 with a range of 28 miles. Hezbollah also attacked Israeli naval vessels in the Mediterranean with the “Noor” (C802) anti-ship cruise missile, a Chinese-designed, Iranian-manufactured missile. On July 14, a C802 killed four Israeli sailors aboard the Israeli Navy Ship INS Hanit.

During the first two weeks of the war, Hezbollah rocket attacks averaged about 100 per day. In early August, Hezbollah doubled the rate of attack to a daily average of 200. There was a decline in the final week, although Hezbollah still was able to launch 250 rockets Aug.13, the day before the cease-fire. Rubin concluded “Israeli counterattacks apparently had no serious influence on Hezbollah’s rate of fire but had an effect on the accuracy and geography of the attacks.”

Rubin concluded Israel needed to reduce the “flash-to-bang” cycle – the interval from the launch of a Hezbollah rocket to the Israeli counterattack – to a few seconds from the time of pinpointing launcher location. Rubin’s second major conclusion was Israel needed “to develop and deploy effective and affordable active defense against rockets to protect vital civilian and military installations.”

Early warning sirens were credited with providing “timely alarms, saving innumerable lives.”

Counter-fire by Israeli artillery was rated “marginally effective,” as were raids by Special Forces units on rocket launchers and command posts. Rubin also rated air strikes as “moderately effective,” as they degraded the accuracy of the rocket launchers and pushed them away from the best launching zones from which to strike Haifa.

Rubin noted that one of the major effects of the war was that economic activity in Israel effectively was suspended for a month.

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