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inFOCUS Quarterly

Spring 2016

Israel - Beyond the Headlines


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Updated May 11, 2012

Rocket Data

Hamas is not the only group that fires rockets into Israeli civilian centers. The Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, and several lesser-known groups have also claimed responsibility for rocket attacks. Contrary to media reports, the rockets fired by these groups are not Qassams and, although similar, they have different names and capabilities.


Hamas is notorious for launching rockets at Israel in recent years. Its weapon of choice is the home-made Qassam.

Since the end of Operation Cast Lead, Hamas has gone to great lengths to rebuild and upgrade its weapons capabilities by amassing new and improved missiles. One such missile is the Kornet, an advanced anti-tank laser-guided missile made by Russia. The first Kornet launched from Gaza was on December 6, 2010 at an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) tank. On April 7, 2011 another Kornet missile was fired at a school bus, killing one child.

According to a cable released by WikiLeaks to Haaretz, the IDF reported to the U.S. in 2009 that Hamas has "sophisticated anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs )…to include the Russian-made Konkours system. Hamas also had SA-7 surface-to-air missiles and sophisticated improvised explosive devices of all varieties." The cable also stated that Hamas has an Iranian-made 122 mm rocket that "was designed specifically for Hamas, as it came in four pieces that could fit through narrow tunnels and be reassembled in Gaza." Moreover, the cable noted that "Israel has sensitive intelligence that Iran is constructing an additional Hamas-specific missile, based on the Fajr, that will have a range beyond 40 kilometers," or 25 miles. The Fajr, a rocket made in Iran with help from North Korea, comes in two types—the Fajr 3 with a 25-mile range and the Fajr 5 with a 45-mile range. According to some reports, militants in Gaza already possess the Fajr-5. In addition, in 2011 it was reported that Iran and Hezbollah were working with Hamas to create a long-range rocket built with materials easily available in Gaza.[1]

Qassam Rocket

Class Qassam I Qassam II Qassam III Qassam IV
Weight 77 lbs 88 lbs 110 lbs 110 lbs
Diameter 4.5 inches 4.5 inches 4.5 inches 4.5 inches
Length 6 feet 6 feet 8 feet 8.5 feet
Maximum Range 1.86 miles 4.35 miles 6.21 miles 9 miles
Weight of Warhead 17.6 lbs 8.8 lbs 17.6 lbs 22lbs

(Also known as Qasam, Kassam and Kasam)

Kornet Rocket

Class Kornet
Weight 59.5 lbs
Diameter 6 inches
Length 47 inches
Maximum Range 3.4 miles

Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)

PIJ uses its own version of Qassam rockets, known as Quds 2 and Quds 3. The most advanced rocket is the Class B Quds 3, which has a maximum range of 5.6 miles and is similar in design and capabilities to the Qassam II. In March 2006, PIJ began upgrading its Quds rocket in an attempt to strike the city of Ashkelon, approximately 9 miles from northern Gaza. In 2008, PIJ claimed to have successfully achieved this capability. PIJ is the only Palestinian group known to fire vehicle-mounted rockets. The Iran-sponsored group, however, has a slower rate of rocket production compared to Hamas.

Quds Rocket

Class A Quds 2 B Quds 2 A Quds 3 B Quds 3
Weight 51.7 lbs 73.7 lbs 77 lbs 92.4 lbs
Length 5 feet 3.6 feet 4.25 feet 6.5 feet
Diameter 3.5 inches 4.5 inches 4 inches 5 inches
Range 3.72 miles 4.35 miles 5.28 miles 5.6 miles
Warhead Weight 17.6 lbs 17.6 lbs 15.4 lbs 17.6 lbs

(Also known as Qods, Kuds, and Kods)


The al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the armed wing of the Fatah movement, has developed its own brand of rockets, too, known as the al-Aqsa and al-Yasser. They are similar in design, size, and construction to the Qassam rocket. The range of the al-Aqsa rocket is superior to the Qassam I, but inferior to the Qassam II, reaching a maximum of 4.3 miles. The al-Yasser is said to have a range of more than 9 miles.

Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)

The rocket manufacturing capability of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) is far inferior to Hamas. The PRC has three types of rockets: the Short Nasser with a range of 3.72 miles, and the Long Nasser 3 and the Nasser 4, which have a range of 5.6 miles. The primary difference between these two rockets is their length and weight.

Nasser Rocket

Class Short Nasser 3 Long Nasser 3 Nasser 4
Weight 55 lbs 66 lbs 88 lbs
Length 4 feet 5.25 feet 6 feet
Diameter 3.5 inches 3.5 inches 4.5 inches
Range 3.75 miles 5.6 miles 5.6 miles
Warhead Weight 22 lbs 22 lbs 22 lbs

(Also known as Nasir and Nassir rockets)

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) has only one type of rocket, the Sumud. This rocket has a maximum range of 4.3 miles. The military wing of the PFLP, the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, has launched these rockets at the Israeli town of Sderot.

Technical Range of all Types of Rockets:

Organization Rocket Models and Max. Ranges
Hamas Qassam I - 1.86 miles
Qassam II - 4.35 miles
Qassam III - 6.21 miles
Qassam IV - 9 miles
Kornet - 3.4 miles
PIJ Class A Quds 2 - 3.72 miles
Class B Quds 2 - 4.35 miles
Class A Quds 3 - 5.28 miles
Class B Quds 3 - 5.6 miles
PRC Short Nasser 3 - 3.75 miles
Long Nasser 3 - 5.6 miles
Nasser 4 - 5.6 miles
Fatah Al-Aqsa - 4.3 miles
Al-Yasser - 9 miles
PFLP Sumud - 4.3 miles
All Groups Grad Rockets (a type of Katyusha) - 25 miles

[1] "The Challenge of Gaza," The Saban Center at Brookings, Analysis Paper 23 (2011): 5.

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