Hamas Escalates Rocket Tests as IDF Readies ‘David’s Sling’ Interceptors” (VIDEO)
Israeli army sources say that Hamas has aggressively increased its rocket and mortar firing tests out to sea in recent days, readying for more fighting with Israel, Israel’s 0404 News reported Thursday.
“We follow every movement of Hamas. The organization is trying to rebuild its status and condition after getting hit hard during Protective Edge,” a military source said.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon has said that the army and air force destroyed some 80 percent of Hamas’ arsenal of long-range M-75, mid-range Grad, and short-range Kassam rockets and mortars in the 51-day conflict during the summer.
The IDF, from land, sea, and air, contends that it can keep close electronic and visual tabs on the new tests and immediately detect any shooting carried out by the terror organization.
“We’re aware of Hamas’ training, and the tests they perform with various rockets,” according to the official.
In a propaganda video posted to YouTube in August, after the end of Protective Edge, Hamas showed the process behind the construction of long-range M-75 rockets.
Footage aired on the Hamas-affiliated al-Aqsa TV channel showed what was said to be scenes of rocket manufacturing shops in Gaza.
“The continuation of the production of rockets during the fighting is a message we give to our allies and enemies,” Hamas Spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri boasted in response to the broadcast.
“Your futile leadership claimed they destroyed our missile potency, but our manufacturers continue to produce missiles and send them to the field,” one manufacturing crew member says in the clip.
In recent weeks, Hamas has fired dozens of rockets both out to sea and at open areas in the Gaza Strip. Hundreds of mortar shells have been fired within Gaza and Hamas continues to train terrorists in sniper fire and light arms use, among other roles.
The army, as well, is readying to deploy the mid and long-range David’s Sling interceptor, to bolster the second tier of its theater missile defense system, Maariv News reported Thursday.
Known as “Magic Wand” in Hebrew, the two-stage radar and electro-optic guided system has a 70-300 kilometer range, three times that of Iron Dome, which reaches 75 kilometers, and is meant to respond to threats such as aircraft and missiles, and, at a later stage will be converted to intercept cruise missiles.
One of the first tasks ahead of the IDF is syncing the system to the existing Home Front Command tracking apparatus, to provide a complete picture of the threats to Israel’s home front.
“The system has already held several trials,” a senior security official told Maariv.
“In November 2012, the missile successfully intercepted a target. A year later there was a successful test of all the system components, in which the missile performed successfully in all phases of flight and intercepted the target as planned.”
Another source added that there will be two major tests held soon: the first to examine the system’s ability to intercept missiles fired operationally within its warning zone, and the second to prepare for the delivery of the system to the Air Force.
In November, Iran’s missile chief said in an official statement that the Islamic Republic is behind the missile buildup among the Palestinians, Syrians, and Lebanon’s Hezbollah.
“The Lebanese Hezbollah and the Palestinian resistance have grown highly powerful in this field (missile production) now,” commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Aerospace Force, Brig.-Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh boasted in an unusual admission of responsibility for the proliferation of missiles among Hamas in Gaza and other Palestinian factions.
In March, Israeli Naval commandos intercepted an Iranian ship in the Red Sea weighed down with missiles that was en route to the Gaza Strip.
The KLOS-C was stopped by Shayetet 13 troops as it was heading to Sudan, 1,500 miles from Israel.
Watch a video clip of David’s sling in a test firing: