Jerusalem – The Palestinian “Popular Resistance Committees,” based in Gaza, announced it has developed a missile with a range of 20 miles. Dubbed Nasser-4, the missile was displayed at a news conference outside Gaza City on Thursday.

The PRC, which is aligned with Hamas, said the missile was capable of striking such Israeli cities as Ashdod and Ashkelon from the Gaza Strip.

Until now, the PRC has been firing missiles such as Nasser-3, with a range of nine miles.

The new missile was said to have been produced at an unidentified facility outside Gaza City. PRC, with an estimated 500 members, took several foreign journalists to the site after they were blindfolded.

Israeli officials have acknowledged PRC, Hamas and Islamic Jihad efforts to extend the range of their missiles. They said these militias have used the current cease-fire with Israel – which began on June 19 – to enhance weaponry and training.

A report issued by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, located in Herzelia, Israel, on the Web at www.Intelligence.org.il, asserts that Hamas and Jihad have significantly increased training and weapons smuggling. The report, asserts that Islamic forces are undergoing advanced anti-tank weapons, naval training and special forces training to prepare for an Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip.

“The lull in the fighting is used by Hamas and the PIJ to continue their military buildup and prepare for the next round of confrontations with the IDF,” the report, titled “One Month Into the Lull in the Fighting,” said.

“The intensive activities carried out within that context include smuggling weapons and ammunition, including mines, explosive charges and supplies for manufacturing rockets, such as pipes.”

“Since the beginning of the lull, weapons and ammunition have been smuggled into the Gaza Strip on a similar scale to the pre-lull times, despite an improvement in the Egyptian activity against the smugglers,” the report said. “Furthermore, Hamas has significantly accelerated its training activity and its military buildup, publicly announcing it on Palestinian and Arab media.”

David Bedein can be reached at dbedein@israelbehindthenews.com. His Web site is www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com

©The Bulletin 2008

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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.