The Foundation for Constitutional Democracy

26-Feb-2008

Rockets From Gaza: Facts and Figures

Filed under: Intifada & Terrorism — eidelberg @ 8:36 am

Tom Carew of Dublin, Ireland, is on the Board of Advisers of the Foundation for Constitutional Democracy.

This article should be disseminated as widely as possible, especially to journalists, think tanks, and policy-makers especially in Israel and the USA.—Prof. Paul Eidelberg

Executive Summary

If the current rate of fire continues, by the end of 2008, over 4,500 rockets and mortar shells will have been fired by Palestinian terrorist organisations based in Gaza.

Since 2001 rocket and mortar shell fire has been directly responsible for the deaths of 24 Israelis and the wounding of 620. This statistic does not take into account the massive psychological cost borne by the 190,000 Israelis who live within striking range. With a population almost ten times that of Israel, the corresponding UK figures would be 240 killed and 6,200 wounded in a city the size of Newcastle.

The problem with rockets predates the Hamas coup in Gaza, the winning by Hamas of the PA elections and the 2005 disengagement from Gaza. Indeed Israel’s western Negev communities have endured 7 years of relentless rocket and mortar shell fire.

For comparative purposes, note that the July 7 2005 suicide bombers each detonated 5-7kg suicide bombs killing 52 civilians and wounding 700. The average rocket fired from Gaza contains 7-8kg of explosives.

Rocket ranges from Gaza and prominent targets.[1]
Rocket ranges from Gaza and prominent targets.

Yearly increase in range of Qassam/Katyusha rockets :
2001= 3 kms
2002= 8 kms
2003=10 kms
2005=12 kms
2006=15 kms
2007=22 kms

Both the Grad-Katyusha and split engine Qassam 2 can strike over 12km, placing the cities of Ashkelon (population 110,000), Netivot (27,000), Sderot (23,000) and the other population centres in the western Negev within range.[2]

This effectively places close to 190,000 Israeli citizens at risk, which in a country of 7,250,000 makes up about 2.6% of the population. Given the difference in population size, in the UK the equivalent would be 1,560,000 citizens.[3]

45% of the rocket attacks have been fired on the southern Israeli city of Sderot.[4]

Sderot has a population of 23,000, which is similar to Teesdale (24,900). In a country of 7,250,000, Sderot’s residents make up roughly 1/300 of Israel’s population. Given the difference in total population size, a comparable UK city would have a population of 190,000, such as Newcastle, Preston, or Derby.[5]

In 2005 the total number of Israelis killed or wounded by rockets or mortar shell fire was 90. In 2006 this figure had risen to 91. In 2007 this figure stood at 125. To date in February 2008, already 31 Israelis have been killed or wounded. If the current rate continues, over 250 Israelis will have been killed or wounded by rocket or mortar shells by the end of 2008.[6]

Since 2001 rocket and mortar shell fire has been directly responsible for the deaths of 24 Israelis and the wounding of 620. This statistic does not take into account the massive psychological cost borne by the 190,000 Israelis who live within striking range. With a population almost ten times that of Israel, the corresponding UK figures would be 240 killed and 6,200 wounded in a city the size of Newcastle.[7]

90% of Sderot residents have experienced a Qassam falling on their street or one street adjacent. 30% of Sderot residents suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Children in Sderot exhibit higher levels of fear (62%), avoidance behaviour (50%), behavioural problems (22%), problems in school (28%), somatic (stress-related) problems (26%), regression (31%) and difficulty sleeping (47%) than any comparable Israeli city by population size and socio-economic demographics.[8]

Annual distribution of rocket and mortar shell fire.[9]
Annual distribution of rocket and mortar shell fire.

2001=249 hits
2002=292
2003=420
2004=1157
2005=417
2006=968
2007=1645
2008 [Jan] = 377    7-year Total = 5,525 hits.

The figure above each column clearly shows that the problem with rockets predates the Hamas coup in Gaza, the winning by Hamas of the PA elections and the disengagement from Gaza. Indeed Israel’s western Negev communities have endured 7 years of relentless rocket and mortar shell fire.

If the current rate of fire continues, by the end of 2008, over 4,500 rockets and mortar shells will have been fired by Palestinian terrorist organisations based in Gaza.[10]

In January 2008, on average 12 rockets and mortar shells fell every day. This contrasts strongly with the figure for December 2007 of 7 rocket and mortar shells every day. Moreover, in November 2007 on average 5 rocket and mortar shells fell every day. It is clear that the volume of attacks is increasing.[11]

Since the firing of the first rockets and mortar shells in 2001 over 5,500 rockets and mortar shells have landed in or around the western Negev. An examination of the graph above shows that the number of attacks gradually grew from 2001 until Israel’s disengagement from Gaza in 2005, when there was a temporary drop. However, over the two following years—2006 and 2007—there was a steady increase. In January 2008 the daily strike rate reached its highest ever levels.[12]

Rocket models used by Gaza Strip terrorist organisations.[13]



Organisation

Rocket
models

Maximum
range

Explosives

Comparison

Hamas

Qassam 1
Short Qassam 2
Long Qassam 2
Split Engine Qassam 2

3km
7-10km
10km
12km

4kg 8kg 8kg
10kg

For comparative
purposes, note that the July 7 2005 suicide bombers each detonated 5-7kg
suicide bombs killing 52 civilians and wounding 700

Palestinian
Islamic Jihad

Class A
Quds 2
Class B Quds 2
Class A Quds 3
Class B Quds 3

6km
7km
8.5km
9km

8kg
8kg
6-7kg
8kg

 

Popular
Resistance Committees

Short
Nasser 3
Long Nasser 3
Nasser 4

6km
9km
9km

9-10kg
9-10kg
9-10kg

 

Popular
Front for the Liberation of Palestine

Summud

7km

8kg

 

Fatah

Al-Aqsa
Al-Yasser

7km
15km

8kg
15kg

 

All
Organisations

120mm Grad
(Katyusha)
80-90mm Mortar Shell
135-140mm Mortar Shell
240-250mm Mortar Shell

20.5km
1.8km
4km
2km

18kg 500g 1-1.5kg
1-2kg

 

For comparative purposes, note that the July 7 2005 London suicide bombers each detonated 5-7kg suicide bombs killing 52 civilians and wounding 700. The average rocket fired from Gaza contains 7-8kg of explosives.

Iran and Syria are the primary state sponsors of the terrorists’ efforts to use rockets and mortars as a weapon to target the civilian population living within range in Israel.[14]

Illustration of a Qassam rocket
Illustration of a Qassam rocket

The rockets manufactured are made of easily obtained metal pipes (such as water pipes and road signs) filled with explosives and propellants, which in most cases are improvised and made of readily-available household supplies such as sugar and agricultural fertiliser.[15]

Rockets are made out of household items for two reasons:

i. Rocket manufacturers are aware that Israel will not prevent basic supplies such as sugar from reaching the Gaza Strip.

ii. Homemade rockets carry no manufacturing signature, and therefore cannot be traced.[16]

Identified Qassam rocket
Identified Qassam rocket

Damage to Sderot house
Damage to Sderot house

 


[1] BICOM, Rocket ranges from Gaza and prominent targets.

[2] Intelligence and Terrorism Information Centre at the Israel Intelligence Heritage and Commemoration Centre (IICC), ‘Rocket threat from the Gaza Strip, 2000-2007,’ December 2007. http://www.terrorism-info.org.il

[3] ibid

[4] ibid

[5] ibid

[6] ibid

[7] ibid

[8] Israel Trauma Centre for Victims of Terror and War (NATAL), ‘The impact of the ongoing traumatic stress conditions on Sderot,’ October 2007.

[9] Rocket threat from the Gaza Strip.

[10] ibid

[11] ibid

[12] ibid

[13] ibid

[14] ‘Hamas in Iran: Expect terror waves in Israel,’ Haaretz, 7 February 2008. http://www.haaretz.com

[15] Rocket threat from the Gaza Strip.

[16] On 29 December 2007, 6.5 tonnes of the banned substance potassium nitrate, used to manufacture explosives and Qassam rockets, were discovered by the IDF. They were disguised in sugar bags marked as humanitarian aid provided by the EU. http://www.reuters.com