Hamas Steps Up Rocket Tests as Israel Readies “David’s Sling” System

 An IDF map showing how rockets from Gaza endanger half of Israel’s population. Photo: IDF.

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.

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SOURCE: Dave Bender

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