Terrorists carrying Fajr missile
Terrorists carrying Fajr missileIsrael News Photo: The Israel Project

Iran has begun an internal probe to examine why the Gaza-based Hamas terrorist organization failed with its numerous rocket barrages to destroy southern Israeli communities or wound more IDF soldiers during Operation Cast Lead.

The Islamic Republic, which has underwritten the cost of training and arming most of Gaza's terrorists, announced plans to ship long-range Fajr missiles into the region to resupply Hamas's depleted arsenal.

If fired from Gaza, Fajr missiles, with a range of 70 kilometers (43 miles), would be capable of reaching Tel Aviv and elsewhere in the Gush Dan central region.

According to intelligence sources, Tehran has already begun the process of building a new supply line to replenish depleted stocks of missiles and other materiel for Gaza terrorists.

However, it will be much harder for Hamas to "import" Iranian-produced Fajr missiles, since they are much larger than the long-range Grad rockets they have used to attack southern Israel until now.

The Fajr missile measures 10 meters (33 feet) in length, as opposed to the 2-meter (6.56-ft) Grad rocket. Short-range, locally-manufactured Kassam rockets are even smaller, although they create just as much damage within their 10-kilometer (6 miles) range of attack.

According to the IDF, soldiers have destroyed more than 80 percent of the smuggling tunnels under the Philadelphi Corridor that runs the length of Gaza's border with Egypt.

Hamas currently is left with less than 1,000 of the 3,000 rockets and missiles it had at the start of Operation Cast Lead, a supply it is trying to replenish through smuggling by sea routes as well as through those tunnels that still remain undamaged.

The terrorist group fired more than 600 of the rockets at southern Israel during the course of the military campaign, and the IDF destroyed an additional 1,200. However, there are still several dozen Grad-type Katyusha rockets left in the Hamas arsenal, said intelligence sources, in addition to the hundreds of other shorter-range rockets that are easily manufactured within Gaza's borders.

Government officials have said that smuggling of arms by Hamas into Gaza would be reason enough to resume military operations against terrorist groups in the region.