The Hamas regime has built bunkers to store and launch medium-range rockets toward Israel.
A leading Israeli defense consultant asserted that Hamas and Islamic Jihad adopted methods of the Iranian-sponsored Hizbullah. The consultant, Uzi Rubin, said the Hamas regime built underground launchers to fire extended-range BM-21 Grad rockets toward Israeli cities during the latest war in November 2012.
“The Gaza fighting may also be a harbinger of wars to come,” Rubin told the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “Hamas military doctrine, with its focus on rockets and missiles, is a reflection of Iran’s military doctrine, so any future war in the Gulf will likely unfold along similar lines.”
In an address on Dec. 18, Rubin, who helped found the Israel Missile Defense Organization, asserted that Hamas and Jihad fired Grads from underground launchers located in residential areas of the Gaza Strip. He said the Grads, with a range of more than 40 kilometers, were fired from electronically-raised launchers similar to that employed by Hizbullah in its 2006 war with Israel.
[On late Dec. 23, Hamas was reported to have fired a long-range rocket from the Gaza Strip. The Israeli military said the rocket did not land in the Jewish state.]
Rubin, today a leading consultant to Western and other governments, said Hamas and its militia allies fired a range of missiles and rockets during the eight-war in November. He said Palestinian forces also employed what he termed a “more robust command-and-control structure.”
“Palestinian operations featured larger numbers of more advanced rockets capable of striking population centers and economic hubs at greater ranges than before, including a few that reached as far as the outskirts of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem,” Rubin said.
Rubin cited the firing of Iran’s long-range Fajr-5 rocket as well as its Palestinian variant M-75. He said these rockets, with an explosive payload of 80 kilograms, were smuggled to the Gaza Strip in 2011.
In all, Palestinian gunners fired more than 1,500 rockets toward Israel. Rubin said about 10 percent landed in the Gaza Strip and 875 others fell in uninhabited areas in Israel. The rest, which comprised 32 percent of launches, was intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome missile and rocket defense system. Rubin said Iron Dome achieved an 84 percent interception rate.
“The Palestinian rocket offensive was characterized by high-tempo,concentrated fire and the ability to shift aim points and engage targets of opportunity,” Rubin said. “In addition, the Palestinians took aim at Israeli troop concentrations, showing that they could fire at targets of opportunity.”
Rubin said massive Israel Air Force strikes failed to stop the Palestinian missile war, which also targeted Jerusalem. He said Hamas and its allies preserved their command and control network “even in the face of intense Israeli offensive operations.”
The Israel Air Force operated Iron Dome as well as launched strikes against Hamas and Jihad rocket arsenals. Rubin said the preemptive strikes on some 20 suspected weapons storage facilities reduced the pace of medium-range rocket fire.
“Attacks on launch sites were somewhat less effective, possiblydue to Israel’s desire to minimize civilian casualties and collateral damage in the residential areas where many launchers are located,” Rubin said.