On November 13, the al-Quds Brigades [the military wing of the Islamic Jihad Movement] revealed a new locally-made, short-range, heavy rocket named “Ashkelon’s Hell.” The Palestinian force said that the new rocket was launched at the Israeli city of Ashkelon during the last military confrontation with the Israeli military.
“The new rocket has a high destructive power and was able to turn the occupied city of Ashkelon into hell,” the al-Quds Brigades said in short statement.
The al-Quds Brigades didn’t reveal any details about the new rocket. However, experts suggest that it is an upgraded copy of the Iranian Fajir-1 107mm rocket. The Palestinian force replaced the 7.9kg warhead with a heavier one packed with high explosives (HE). A video published by locals from Ashkelon shows the destructive power of the new warhead.
Despite the increase in the warhead weight, the al-Quds Brigades managed to extend the range of the rocket in order to reach the city of Ashkelon, which is located 11km north of the Gaza Strip. The Fajir-1 original range was only 8.3km.
The Al-Quds Brigades’ new rocket was likely inspired by the ongoing conflict in Syria, where all sides have used such locally-upgraded heavy munition against each other since 2012.
The new rocket creates a new challenge for the Israel military not only because of its destructive power, but also because of its small-form-factor and short-range, which makes it harder for the Iron Dome system to detect and intercept it.