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The Katyusha Rocket Threat

Katyusha rockets are from time to time launched into towns in northern Israel by the Hizbullah Islamic fundamentalist group stationed in southern Lebanon. Residents are forced to sleep in bomb shelters, sometimes for days on end, in fear of the attacks.

The Second Lebanon War in the summer of 2006 proved how effective the Katyusha can be in disrupting the Israeli home front. During this war Hizbullah rockets reached as far south as Haifa, well beyond the range shown on the map below.

How would Katyushas smuggled in to a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza affect Israel's main population centers in time of war?

The Katyusha Rocket "Multiple Rocket Launcher" BM-21 pictured here could be easily taken apart and smuggled into a "demilitarized" Palestinian state. Individual Katyushas can be launched from a pipe using just a car battery.

The rockets on this truck have a range of 12.7 miles / 20.4 km. Katyushas can easily carry chemical warheads. One full salvo of rockets from this truck would fire the explosive equivalent to four Iraqi-type Scud missiles, which were launched into Israel during the 1991 Gulf War.

Most Israeli cities are in Katyusha range from Lebanon, the West bank or Gaza, as the map below demonstrates.

The speckled region to the left is the Tel Aviv metropolitan area, which houses some 70% of Israel's Jewish population and 80% of the country's industrial base. The West Bank is a mountainous region overlooking the Mediterranean coastal plain and Gaza is a seaside district with its own port. If Israel relinquishes military control over these regions, it will be impossible to prevent the smuggling of weapons such as the Katyusha. The potential implications are clear.

(Information and map courtesy of Mark Langfan)

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