GAZA – Palestinian fighters nearly hit Jerusalem with a rocket for the first time in decades on Friday and fired at Tel Aviv for a second day, in a stinging challenge to Israels Gaza offensive after an Egyptian bid to broker a truce.
The rockets that hit and shook Israeli capital were Iranian made Fajr-5, Palestinian resistance group Islamic Jihad Movement, said today.
Palestinian group has employed Irans Fajr-5 (Dawn-5) artillery rockets to strike targets in the deeper areas of the occupied territories.
According to the Islamic Jihad, the armed wing of the group, al-Quds Brigades, fired Fajr-5 rocket at Tel Aviv on Thursday, causing a large explosion to shake the city.
The site of the explosion, Tel Aviv-Jaffa (60 kilometers north of the Gaza Strip), was the farthest that a Gaza rocket had ever hit inside Israel.
An air raid siren rang out on Friday when the commercial centre was targeted again. Motorists crouched next to cars, many with their hands protecting their heads, while pedestrians scurried for cover in building stairwells.
For the first time since 1970, a Palestinian rocket also reached the vicinity of the holy city of Jerusalem , which Israel claims as its capital.
A report by the US Center for Military Studies has meanwhile confirmed that the range of Irans Fajr-5 (dawn-5) artillery rockets is five times longer than that of the Qassam rockets of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad Movement.
The report shows that Fajr-5, designed by Iran’s Aerospace Industries Organization, has a range of up to 75 kilometers, weighs 915 kilograms and has a 90-kilogram warhead.
This is while, the Qassam rocket developed and deployed by the armed wing of Hamas, the Al-Qassam Brigades, has a range of 15 kilometers. The steel artillery rocket can carry warheads with a maximum weight of 10 kilograms, the report said.
In a separate statement, Jihad Movement pledged that Israel would experience further surprises so long as the aggression against the Palestinian people continues.
On Saturday morning, Palestinian resistance fighters fired another missile toward Tel Aviv.
Israeli TV says more than dozens of missiles have hit Ashkelon – 50 km (31 miles) south of Tel Aviv – Eshkol regional council in northwestern Negev in Israel’s Southern District, Be’er Tuvia in central Israel and the southern city of Ofakim.
Israel has called up about 75,000 army reservists amid reports of a possible ground incursion into the coastal enclave.
Scores of Palestinians have been killed since the Israeli airstrikes against the besieged territory began on Wednesday.
Israels Channel 2 says only 220 missiles, out of a total of 650, fired from Gaza have since Wednesday been intercepted by Israels Iron Dome air defense system
The Gaza conflagration has stoked the flames of a Middle East already ablaze with two years of Arab revolution and a civil war in Syria that threatens to leap across borders.
It is the biggest test yet for Egypts new President Mohamed Mursi from the Muslim Brotherhood, elected this year after last years protests ousted military autocrat Hosni Mubarak.
Egypts Muslim Brotherhood are spiritual mentors of Hamas, yet Mursi has also pledged to respect Cairos 1979 peace treaty with Israel, seen in the West as the cornerstone of regional security. Egypt and Israel both receive billions of dollars in US military aid to underwrite their treaty.
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