By Amos Harel, Haaretz Correspondent 29 March 2006
For the first time, Palestinians fired a 122mm Katyusha rocket, a much
longer-range projectile than the Qassam, from the Gaza Strip into Israel,
the IDF confirmed Tuesday night.
The Katyusha was fired Tuesday morning. It caused no injuries or damage.
Israel Channel 10 Television said the rocket was apparently fired by the
Islamic Jihad, which had vowed to try to disrupt the Tuesday general
Remains of the rocket were discovered in searches of areas hit by rockets
south of Ashkelon.
Military sources said the potential range of the Katyusha is some 15
kilometers, about six kilometers longer than that of the Qassam.
This would place a much larger number of Israeli towns and villages in
danger of being hit by rockets fired from the Gaza Strip, including the
southern coastal city of Ashkelon.
It is believed that the Katyusha fired from Gaza was smuggled into the
Strip, apparently across the Gaza-Egypt border from Sinai.
Army Radio said the 122mm Katyusha fired Tuesday is a model used by Iran.
In recent years the Palestinian Authority and terror organizations have
tried on numerous occasions to smuggle Katyushas into the territories, but
until now, it was thought that Israel had succeeded in foiling all of the
In January, 2002, dozens of Katyushas were aboard the Karine A arms ship,
when it was intercepted and impounded by Israeli forces.
Palestinian gunners have fired thousands of Qassams and mortars shells at
Israel over the past five years. Of late, the rate of fire has been
increasing, to two or more daily.
Katyushas were frequently fired by Hezbollah into northern Israel during
Israel’s 18-year military presence in southern Lebanon, which ended in 2000.