JAFFA – Long-range rockets fired from the Gaza Strip into Israeli cities the past few days were manufactured in and imported from Iran, according to Israeli security officials speaking to WND.
In a major escalation, Hamas the past few days has been firing long range Grad rockets at the strategic Israeli port city of Ashkelon, home to some 125,000 Israelis about 11 miles from Gaza. Ashkelon houses a major electrical plant that powers most of the Gaza Strip.
Grad rockets are longer-range projectiles similar to the Katyusha rocket, which the Lebanese Hezbollah terror group successfully used in 2006 to barrage northern Israel, killing 42 Israeli civilians and reportedly wounding over 4,000. The Grad travels up to 12 miles and delivers a larger payload than the Qassam rocket, which can travel about four to five miles and is the usual rocket of choice for Palestinians.
At least three Grad rockets landed in Ashkelon today, wounding a woman who had used her body to protect her two children. A least a dozen Grads slammed into Ashkelon since Friday, causing injuries to civilians and massive damage to houses and buildings.
At least 140 rockets, mostly Qassams, targeted the Israeli city of Sderot the past four days, bombarding the working-class city of about 25,000 people located nearly three miles from the Gaza border. One man was killed and dozens injured last week. Thousands of rockets have been regularly launched at Sderot since Israel retreated from the Gaza Strip in 2005.
In response to the rocket attacks, the Israel Air Force and Israel Defense Forces have been targeting Hamas positions in Gaza.
According to Israeli security officials, the Grad rockets fired at Israel in recent days were made in Iran and were smuggled in parts into the Gaza Strip, where they were assembled. It is thought a large number of rockets were brought into Gaza in January, when Hamas breached the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, the sources said.
According to a senior source in Hamas'-so-called military wing speaking to WND, the terror group has more than 300 Grad rockets in addition to what the source claimed were "hundreds" more Grads possessed by other Gaza-based terror organizations, including the Hamas-allied Popular Resistance Committees.
In a statement carried widely in the Middle East, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei yesterday called in Muslims and their leaders worldwide to "rise up" against Israel and the United States in response to Israel's anti-rocket operations in Gaza.
"It is with the support of that [the U.S.] oppressive government that the Zionists [Israel] are committing these unforgivable sins with impudence," Khamenei said in the statement.
"The Islamic (people) must rise and the Islamic leaders must hit the occupying regime in the face with their nations' anger," Khamenei's statement said.
Also yesterday, Israel's military intelligence chief, Amos Yadlin, told the Knesset Iran was closely monitoring Israel's moves against the Iranian backed Hamas terror group in Gaza and warned Tehran may decide to deploy its allies against the Jewish state in a larger conflict.
"The fact that Iran, Syria and the Hezbollah are not firing now does not mean they have emerged from their campaign," said Yadlin at a Knesset meeting yesterday.
Everyone is looking to see how the conflict in Gaza will end, to determine how to operate," Yadlin said.
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