Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have manufactured improved rockets that can travel deeper into the Jewish state, placing hundreds of thousands more Israelis within firing range, a leader and spokesman of the Islamic Jihad terror group claimed to WND.
Israeli security officials said the improved rocket capabilities of Palestinians in Gaza likely came about with the aid of Iran, which provided technology and training to the terror groups.
Abu Muhammad, a Gaza-based militant and spokesperson for Islamic Jihad, said his organization manufactured rockets that can travel up to 14.3 miles into Israel from Gaza. He said the new projectiles afford Palestinian groups the ability to reach further into Israel and to launch the rockets from anywhere within the Strip.
Since Israel evacuated the Gaza Strip in August 2005, Islamic Jihad has been responsible for firing hundreds of rockets from the territory aimed at nearby Jewish cities.
The Qassams have been almost daily bombarding Israeli towns, including Sderot, a city of 25,000 some three miles from the Gaza border, and Ashkelon, a port city that is home to important strategic industrial plants and one of Israel's largest electricity generators.
The new claim suggests a dozen more Israeli cities would be within range of the rockets, bringing to about 250,000 the total Israeli population that could live under rocket threat from Gaza.
'Turn Ashkelon into the next Sderot'
Abu Muhammad vowed to continue launching rockets deeper into Israel.
"In the coming period, the strategy of Islamic Jihad and other organizations is to turn Ashkelon into the next Sderot and keep bombarding towns regularly until reaching deeper and deeper," said the terrorist.
Abu Muhammad claimed Israel would be "very surprised and astonished soon by our rocket capacities. We will not abide by any ceasefire."
Abu Muhammad would not confirm if Iran assisted his group in developing its new purported rocket capabilities.
"It is not the business of anyone where we receive rockets or training," he said.
Yon Wednesday, Chief of the Gaza Command for the Israel Defense Forces Yoav Galant told reporters Iran has been helping Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups upgrade its military capabilities by providing technology, funding, and direct military training.
He said hundreds of militants have been traveling to Iranian bases in Iran, Syria and Lebanon and said "people from Iran" also visit Gaza to inspect the area.
Galand would not elaborate on whether Iranian Revolutionary Guard units were operating in the Gaza Strip.
Reprinted with permission of WorldNetDaily