Rocket launched towards Tel Aviv was made in Syria – report

Arab media reported that the long-range rocket was an M-302 that was smuggled to the Gaza Strip in 2009.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Arab media have reported that at least one of the rockets Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) launched at Tel Aviv Wednesday during the ongoing Operation Shield and Arrow was made in Syria and smuggled into the Gaza Strip, Maariv reported Thursday.

Called the M-302 (previously the Khaibar-1), the 302mm unguided rocket has a range of 90-150 km and is considered more accurate than most of the airborne weapons in the Gazan terrorists’ arsenal.

It is manufactured by the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC), the Arab reports said.

Run by a director-general who answers directly to President Bashir Assad, the SSRC is responsible for the research and development of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons as well as missile technology. The center has been on a U.S. blacklist since 2005, and Israel has allegedly conducted several airstrikes against its facilities in recent years.

The M-302 was first used by Hezbollah against Israel in the 2006 Second Lebanon War, reportedly hitting Afula, Beit Shean, Hadera and even Haifa. According to the Arab networks, a batch of them was successfully smuggled into the Gaza Strip in 2009, and Hamas used them during 2012’s Operation Pillar of Cloud and Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014. One of them hit Hadera, 112 km away from Gaza, during the latter operation.

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Tel Aviv is 71 km (44 miles) from the Gaza Strip.

When PIJ sent a barrage of rockets at the region of Israel’s financial capital central Wednesday, the IDF successfully used its David’s Sling interception system for the first time to knock one of them out of the sky.

In 2018, the army had tried to destroy incoming rockets from Syria with the system, but one interceptor missed its target and the other was destroyed by the IDF itself for technical reasons when it was still in flight in Israeli territory.

In contrast to Iron Dome, which is made to hit short-range rockets, David’s Sling is for medium- and long-range airborne threats. These include rockets, tactical ballistic missiles and cruise missiles fired from 40-300km away, as well as enemy planes and drones. Its more complex interceptor also costs a lot more than the Tamir interceptor used by the Iron Dome, with a price tag of a million dollars versus $50,000.

Funded mostly by the U.S., it was developed by Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Raytheon Technologies Corp., an American aerospace and defense conglomerate. David’s Sling is considered the “second-tier” of the country’s missile defense system, with the Arrow 2 and 3 systems protecting the Jewish state from intercontinental threats by using hypersonic interceptors that reach their targets above the atmosphere.