The Yasser has a range of 15 kilometers (9 miles), putting the populous Israeli city of Ashkelon within striking distance of Gaza-launched missiles. It is said to be almost ready for activation.
Members of the terror gang paraded through the streets of Gaza City today, displaying the new rocket and declaring their intention to begin firing the rocket at Ashkelon - within Israel's pre-1967 borders. They marched towards the mourning tent set up in honor of Arafat, and announced that the rocket would help "fulfill Yasser Arafat’s dream.”
The Ynet internet site reported that the Fatah terrorists are also working on the development of an additional rocket capable of striking targets at a distance of 18 kilometers. The terrorists are competing with Hamas’ Kassam rockets, which have been used to bombard the city of Sderot, within Israel’s pre-1967 borders, as well as Jewish towns in Gush Katif.
Last August, terrorists fired a Kassam rocket at Ashkelon, hitting an industrial zone in the southern part of the city only 100 meters from a fuel refinery. Defense Minister Sha'ul Mofaz attempted recently to mollify Ashkelon residents, saying, “There is no reason to worry about an increased [rocket] range after the disengagement. I can’t specify what we are doing, but I can only say that the general situation of the residents of Ashkelon will be much better with regard to security.”
Ashkelon’s mayor, Roni Mahatzri, isn’t taking any chances. He told Ynet that his city was preparing for the worst, and has asked the IDF’s Homefront Command for help in establishing an emergency center.