Hamas has been firing rockets into Israel from Gaza for the past few days in as part of an escalation that began with Hamas operatives’ kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teens. In response to a barrage of Hamas rockets on Israeli targets earlier in the week, Israel has launched a counteroffensive in which over 80 people have already been killed.
Hamas has taken advantage of this crisis to use its latest rocket, the Khaibar M-302. This rocket has a range of up to 100 miles, allowing Hamas to target cities that were previously unassailable for the group.
Aside from the M-302, Hamas has a plethora of other rockets of various designs. The Israeli Defence Force estimates that Hamas has a total arsenal of about 10,000 rockets in Gaza, although the majority are of limited range and quality. There are already reports that Israeli military estimates that a third of Hamas’s long-range rockets have already been used or destroyed.
Below is a summary of the rockets Hamas has at its disposal.
The Qassam rocket family is the largest and most easily-accessible component of Hamas’s rocket arsenal, as they are primarily manufactured within the Gaza Strip. They are generally created from common civilian products, such as piping, and the warheads usually are created from homemade explosives. The rocket lacks a guidance system and is generally inaccurate, although it can reportedly be set up and fired within only 15 minutes.
Qassam rockets come in three varieties. Qassam-1 rockets can fire upwards of five kilometers while carrying a five kilogram warhead, a Qassam-2 can fire upwards of 12 kilometers carrying a 10 kilogram warhead, and a Qassam-3 can fire upwards of 16 kilometers carrying a 20 kilogram warhead.
Hamas has been firing Grads into Israel since 2006. The missiles are made in a number of countries, including Iran and China. The rockets were previously brought into the Gaza Strip via smuggling tunnels that led into Egypt. Among the Grad rockets, Hamas also has Soviet Grad-type Katyusha rockets.
Grads generally perform significantly better than the homemade Qassams. Grads have a range varying from 18 to 40 kilometers, depending upon how much Hamas modifies them, and can carry up to an 18 kilogram payload.
The WS-1E rocket is a variant of a Chinese-made weapons system. The rockets were likely produced off of Chinese blueprints by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard at facilities in Sudan. From Sudan, the rockets were smuggled into Gaza via tunnels in Egypt.
The rockets have a range of 40 kilometers can carry an 18-to-22-kilogram warhead.
The Fajr-5 is an Iranian rocket that functions as a prestige weapon for Hamas. Iran denies having provided the rockets to Gaza, although a Revolutionary Guards commander said that the Iranians provided Hamas with the technology to manufacture the missiles themselves.
Fajr-5s have a range of up to 75 kilometers and can carry a 175 kilogram warhead.
The Khaibar M-302 is a Syrian-made rocket. As far as the IDF can tell, Hamas has not locally produced any M-302s in Gaza. In March, Israeli commandos intercepted a Panamanian-flagged ship off the Sudanese coast that was carrying 40 M-302 rockets beneath sacks of Iranian concrete which the ship had picked up in Iran.
The M-302 has a range of up to 150 kilometers and can carry payloads of up to 145 kilograms. The Khaibar rocket could theoretically allow Hamas to target Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, parts of northern Israel, and even offshore rigs. Before this latest conflict, Hamas was estimated to have between 40 and 80 of them.