For more than a decade, Palestinian terrorists grabbed headlines by executing suicide bombings against Israelis. Today, the security fence separating the Gaza Strip from Israel has forced them to resort to new tactics. Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and other terrorist groups now fire crude rockets indiscriminately into Israel, hoping to hit civilian targets.
The Qassam rocket, often mislabeled as a missile, has been the Hamas weapon of choice since 2002. There are currently four types of Qassams. Each has a different payload, size, and distance. However, not all Palestinian rockets fired are Qassams. Other groups use rockets with different names and specifications.
Palestinian rockets pose a direct threat to the cities and towns of Southern Israel. These areas are located near the northern Gaza Strip, where most rockets are fired. The maximum rocket range currently limits strikes to the Israeli towns of Ashkelon, Sderot, and Netivot. Sderot (pop. 20-24,000) has been hit by some 45% of the rockets fired, Netivot (pop. 24,000) has been hit by 53% of the rockets, and Ashkelon (pop. 100,000) has been targeted by 2% of the rockets.
The thousands of rockets that have fallen in Israel have caused physical and emotional damage to its citizens. The mainstream media continues to downplay the threat, however. Palestinian Rocket Report seeks to shed more light on this growing problem, and the dangers these rockets pose.