Military officials said on Tuesday that a terrorist cell that was recently targeted by IAF aircraft in Rafah was about to fire a rocket with a range of 80 kilometers, twice the range of the rockets that have been used until now.
The incident occurred on Saturday, October 29, when IDF forces attacked a terrorist gang in southern Gaza that was preparing to launch long-range rockets at Israeli targets.
Five Islamic Jihad terrorists were reported killed in the attack, among them Ahmed al-Sheikh Khalil, commander of the manufacturing and engineering unit of the terror organization’s military wing. Also killed was Mohammad Ashour, a member of Islamic Jihad’s engineering unit.
Following the IDF strike, the Islamic Jihad fired a barrage of rockets and missiles at southern Israel, leaving one person dead and setting off a round of fighting between the IDF and Gaza-based terrorists.
The squad that was targeted had been using technology similar to that used by the terror squad that was involved in firing two Grad missiles into southern Israel three days earlier. Those missiles exploded in Ashdod and the community of Bnei Aish.
Military sources have now revealed that the rocket that the targeted squad was preparing to launch was a locally manufactured new rocket with a range of 80 kilometers. Until now, Gaza terrorists have only fired rockets with a range that does not exceed 40 kilometers.
Security officials could not determine whether the terrorists were planning to fire the rocket at Israel or whether it was it an experiment and the rocket was being fired towards the sea. IDF officials noted, however, that the foiled attack proves that the Islamic Jihad has the ability to reach ranges of 80 kilometers, thus putting central Israel in danger.